ASN hosts the biannual meeting of WENRA

Published on 17/11/2023 at 13:51

Information notice

On 14 and 15 November 2023, the Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA) held its biannual plenary meeting at ASN headquarters in Montrouge.

Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA) held its biannual plenary meeting

This meeting, chaired by Olivier Gupta, ASN’s Director General, enabled the association to cover a range of important subjects, with a certain number of decisions being reached.

  • WENRA’s members approved the association’s new strategy, taking account of the new international context and the new nuclear-related challenges. WENRA thus decided to give priority to (i) setting out common safety requirements to be applied by each member on key issues, (ii) the definition and adoption of good practices regarding regulatory cooperation for the evaluation of new technologies and (iii) the definition of a common position on key subjects.
  • PAA, the Polish nuclear safety regulator, which had enjoyed observer status since it joined WENRA in 2008, was granted full membership. NRA, the Japanese nuclear safety regulator, which had been an observer since 2016, was granted associated member status.
  • The acting Chairman of the Ukrainian nuclear safety regulator (SNRIU) gave a presentation of the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. He also presented SNRIU’s regulatory actions to enable the VVER type reactors to use alternative nuclear fuels in order to replace that currently used and fabricated by the Russian Federation.
  • WENRA approved the report from its working group on nuclear reactors, presenting a comparison of how the NPPs implement some of the WENRA safety reference levels (SRL) most commonly used during the course of the periodic safety reviews. This is the first study of this kind and, underlining the importance of this work, WENRA recalled that the goal of the SRL was – in addition to their inclusion in the national regulations of its members – their actual implementation by the sites.
  • WENRA confirmed the need to revise the safety objectives currently applicable to new reactors, in order to take account of the specific case of small modular reactors.
  • As part of the European discussions on the taxonomy and concept of “accident tolerant fuels”, WENRA underlined that operating experience feedback showed that a period of 7 to 15 years could be needed between the beginning of the studies and the deployment of innovative fuels in the reactors.
  • WENRA also approved a certain number of recommendations concerning the monitoring, detection and treatment of the stress corrosion phenomenon that could affect welds on the stainless steel piping of the main primary system of pressurised water reactors.
  • The meeting was also an opportunity for WENRA to approve the appointment of Mark Foy, Chief Executive and Chief  Nuclear Inspector at the ONR (United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation) and current Vice-Chair of WENRA, as the new Chair, replacing O. Gupta, who becomes one the two Vice-Chairs, the other still being Petteri Tiippana, Director General of STUK (Finland).
2023 11 15 WENRA Chairmanship change

This change was the opportunity for O. Gupta to highlight a number of the achievements of the 2019-2023 period during which he was Chair of WENRA, in particular with regard to the comparative analysis and improvement of the SRL, the  publication of several joint position statements on key subjects, the improvements made to the governance of WENRA, clarification of the WENRA expansion criteria, WENRA’s support for Ukraine, reinforcement of WENRA’s relations with the stakeholders and WENRA’s enhanced visibility within and outside Europe, along with the adoption of a new strategy taking account of a context in which nuclear power is being restarted in several European countries.

Date of last update : 17/11/2023