In the context of the war in Ukraine, and following the attack on the Zaporizhia power plant, Olivier Gupta, Director General of ASN, who currently chairs the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA), spoke on Friday 4 March 2022 with Oleg Korikov, head of the Ukrainian Nuclear Safety Authority (SNRIU).
They reviewed the situation of civil nuclear installations in Ukraine and their oversight.
In particular, Oleg Korikov specified that the Ukrainian safety authority inspectors were currently no longer able to carry out direct oversight on the Chernobyl site and Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, due to the presence of Russian military troops around these sites. Both confirmed the importance of maintaining, in the present circumstances, in accordance with international standards, effective oversight of the safety of nuclear installations by the competent authority.
Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA)
WENRA is the independent association of European national nuclear regulators. WENRA was created in February 1999. The founding members were heads of the regulatory bodies in Western Europe with proven experience in operating nuclear power plants: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
At the European level, WENRA promotes the harmonisation of national nuclear safety regulations among its members.
At the international level, WENRA aims to be at the forefront of nuclear safety and disseminate exemplary levels of nuclear safety.
WENRA is now an association which brings together the heads of 32 nuclear safety regulators: 18 full members (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom); 2 associated members (Canada and Russia); 12 observers (Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Serbia and the United States of America).
Throughout its first two decades of existence, WENRA has been a driving force in achieving a higher level of nuclear safety. WENRA's contribution to the improvement of nuclear safety can be illustrated by:
- Negotiations by the European institutions with relevant governments, notably on the evaluation made by WENRA regarding the shut-down of certain nuclear power plants operated in these countries.
- Changes to or adjustments of their national regulatory framework by some countries, to ensure alignment with SRLs.
- The initiative taken by WENRA in the weeks following the Fukushima accident to propose a stress-test process to the European Commission and to draft its technical specifications in a very short period of time.
- The drafting of the technical specifications for the stress tests (2011) carried out to evaluate the robustness of the European nuclear power plants to extreme conditions (earthquake, flooding, etc.) after the Fukushima accident.
- The HERCA-WENRA approach (2014) for improved cross-border coordination of protective actions during the early phase of a nuclear accident.
To fulfil its objectives WENRA draws on 3 working groups:
- RHWG: The reactor harmonisation working group is mandated by WENRA to develop a harmonized approach to the nuclear safety of operating and new nuclear power plants.
- WGWD: The working group on waste and decommissioning is tasked by WENRA with developing harmonisation of the regulatory frameworks of its members in the field of waste and decommissioning facilities.
- WGRR: The working group on research reactors develops a harmonised approach to nuclear safety for all research reactors, except critical, sub-critical assemblies, homogeneous zero-power reactors and accelerator driven systems.
In 2019 WENRA approved a new strategy built around 10 objectives.
ASN chaired WENRA from its creation in 1999 to 2003. In 2019, twenty years after its creation, the chairmanship of WENRA was entrusted to ASN again. Olivier Gupta, Director General of ASN became the 6th WENRA Chair.
Date of last update : 09/03/2022