atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 2 ı February
INSIDE NUCLEAR WITH NUCNET
WANO to Increase Focus on New
Nuclear as Industry’s Centre of Gravity
Shifts Towards Asia
The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) intends to focus more on new nuclear units coming
into operation around the world as the “centre of gravity” in the industry shifts from the US and Europe to
the Middle East and Asia.
The organisation’s chief executive officer, Peter Prozesky,
told NucNet that new-build projects in China, India, Turkey
and the United Arab Emirates are giving WANO the
opportunity to make sure those countries start the
operational life of their new units “in a very positive way”.
He said the rate of new-build in these new nuclear
markets means there could be challenges, even for existing
companies, related to rapid expansion. There could be
challenges to the ability of some expanding companies
to provide experienced and qualified people to staff their
new units, he said.
In supporting countries with new units beginning
operation, WANO is working more closely with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). One of the
IAEA’s tasks is to help emerging nuclear countries develop
the infrastructure and capability they need to have nuclear
power as part of their energy mix.
Mr Prozesky said WANO, whose members operate some
440 nuclear reactor units in more than 30 countries, has
developed a strong relationship between its London office
and IAEA headquarters in Vienna to ensure that experience
is regularly shared. He said: “The IAEA gets involved with
new entrants a lot earlier than we do. They are focusing on
member countries and setting up infrastructure, while
WANO needs to engage when new-build contracts get
signed. The aim is now to have WANO involved as early as
WANO is developing training modules and support
missions for new nuclear countries. Modules cover the
period from the start of contractual work to commercial
operation, and aim to help utilities and companies during
the construction and commissioning phases. Early engagement
with the IAEA is part of WANO’s Compass plan, which
was conceived in 2015 and updated at this year’s biennial
general meeting, in Gyeongju, South Korea.
The revised schedule for Compass, which also includes
plans to make WANO more effective in areas such as
life-extensions and decommissioning of plants, is 2022.
The original Compass ran until 2019, but that target has
now been revised, Mr Prozesky said.
Earlier this year the IAEA and WANO agreed to increase
their cooperation to strengthen operational safety and to
support countries that are planning or considering
launching nuclear power programmes. They said they
can maximise safety benefits, increase efficiency and
avoid conflicting advice by increasing cooperation on
safety peer review services.
Increasing the efficiency of the reviews will be particularly
important in anticipation of the increasing number of
nuclear facilities worldwide in coming decades, WANO
chairman Jacques Regaldo said at the time. “By 2030, half
of the nuclear power reactors will be based in Asia, and we
will have many newcomers to nuclear power,” he said.
“There is real value for WANO to work together with the
IAEA and others to help maximise the safety and reliability
of nuclear power plants.”
In an August 2017 report the IAEA said it foresees a
significant decline in nuclear expansion in North America
and in northern, western and southern Europe, with only
slight increases in Africa and western Asia.
But significant growth is projected in central and
eastern Asia, where nuclear power capacity is expected to
undergo an increase of 43 % by 2050.
WANO has been discussing plans for a new regional
centre in Asia to meet demand for expertise and missions
from companies operating new units. The organisation
already has regional centres in Atlanta, Moscow, Paris and
Tokyo, with a head office in London.
WANO has decided to look into the possibility of setting
up a new regional centre, starting with a proposal to open
a branch of the London office in Shanghai. The main aim of
this office will be to develop local expertise.
The second phase of opening a new regional centre
would then include converting the branch office into a
support centre which would provide support services to
other regions. These initial preparations depend on a vote
by WANO members, probably in 2018. When the support
centre is operating as it should, it would become a fully
operational regional centre.
Mr Prozesky said WANO is holding discussions with
its Chinese members about “the sharing of financial
responsibility” for funding the Shanghai office through the
first two phases.
At its biennial general meeting, WANO discussed the
implications of financial and market pressures. Corporate
organisations “have huge responsibilities” to ensure that
operating nuclear plants are carefully managed and
adequately resourced in these difficult times, Mr Prozesky
The organisation also started a discussion on how it
should be supporting units when they approach the end of
their designed lifetime.
Members spoke about the need to increase cooperation
amongst like-minded organisations such as the IAEA and
the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency.
WANO recently announced the signing of a cooperation
agreement with the International Youth Nuclear Congress
(IYNC), recognition of the fact that WANO needs to find
ways to transfer knowledge from people who have been in
the industry for the past 40 years to those who are entering
Mr Prozesky said it was “quite sobering” to talk to young
operators in control rooms today and find that some of
them weren’t born when the Chernobyl accident happened
in 1986. He said: “It is essential that transfer all the
accumulated knowledge and the industry’s experience to
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