Safety at nuclear plants: WENRA presents its Harmonisation Reports

On 9 February, the Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association (WENRA), which groups together the heads of nuclear regulatory bodies from 17 countries, organised a seminar in Brussels to present the 3 Harmonisation Reports that it published last month on its web site ( These reports deal with the harmonisation of European safety standards for existing nuclear plants, as well as for spent fuel handling, waste storage and decommissioning activities.

Around 200 people attended the seminar, including all the top regulators in Europe, representatives from the European nuclear industry, European Commission officials, representatives from the IAEA and other institutions and NGOs. The seminar revolved around a number of key sessions. The first of two main sessions was devoted to presentations of the three harmonisation reports and of reports from France and Hungary on national results with regard to compliance with WENRA Reference Levels for Reactor Safety.

The other main session provided the different stakeholders present, including representatives of the ENISS (European Nuclear Installations Safety Standards) initiative, the opportunity to give their comments. As FLASH readers will recall, ENISS was created in May 2005, under the aegis of FORATOM, to better articulate the views of operators running nuclear installations and to work closely with WENRA and other stakeholders to ensure that greater harmonisation is achieved.

Commenting on the WENRA recommendations, ENISS Steering Committee Chairman, Mr. Karl-Fredrik Ingemarsson told the seminar that ENISS welcomes WENRA’s work on harmonising safety standards in nuclear industry. He pointed out that the main mission of ENISS is to help identify and agree upon the scope and substance of harmonised safety standards. Operators must, therefore, support regulators to help ensure that once defined the new regulations are properly implemented in a harmonised way. He also noted during the seminar that, according to WENRA, 88% of the required reference levels are already being implemented at existing plants. This assessment clearly reflects the fact that license holders have always acted on their own initiative and have accepted responsibility for continuously improving safety.

Mr. Ingemarsson also pointed out that ENISS found the waste and decommissioning reports imbalanced compared with the Reactor Safety Harmonization Report, which makes the possibility of receiving the call for comments by 1 June rather impracticable.

Mr. Fourest, Chairman of the ENISS Administration Group, made some additional technical remarks on WENRA’s reactor safety recommendations.

In the final session, Mrs. Melin, WENRA’s Chairperson, reiterated the association’s intention to have the harmonised reference levels implemented by 2010 in the respective regulatory system. As several regulators acknowledged during the seminar, this goal is quite ambitious. It is, therefore, clear that the objective is to implement all the recommendations in legal terms, but not at all nuclear power plants. Mrs. Melin invited stakeholders to provide WENRA with their comments by June 1. A review process of WENRA’s recommendations will take place and the final reference levels for reactor safety should be agreed upon by the end of 2006. WENRA members have also committed themselves to develop, in 2006, a national action plan to implement the recommendations that result from the in-depth comparative analysis.

Contact: For further information on the work of ENISS contact Dr. Werner Zaiss at or Muriel Glibert at


Home l Top l Disclaimer l Copyright l Webmaster