Ensuring Safety, Security and Safeguards in Nuclear Power: Opportunities and challenges of a coordinated approach
On 12 June, the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK hosted a one day conference considering the development, current situation and benefits of greater integration in the three areas of safety, security and safeguards (the 3Ss).
Vice Chancellor Malcolm McVicar welcomed more than fifty delegates, including many senior managers from across the nuclear industry, to this stimulating and thought-provoking conference.
Professor Laurence Williams (UCLAN) presented a strong argument for a change from the historic approach, where the 3Ss were considered as separate issues, to one where the synergies are recognised and the three areas are coordinated within all life-cycle stages. Professor Williams explored the challenges of such a change in respect of licensee responsibilities and organisation, the separate cultures, beliefs and values of the safety and security communities and the approach to risk evaluation. In conclusion, he felt that this was both an international as well as a national issue and that the IAEA should provide a lead.
Deputy Chief Inspector Mark Bassett from the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) explored some of the challenges to regulatory integration arising from differences in the underpinning legislation and regulatory frameworks for safety and security. From 2007, ONR has had civil nuclear security and the UK safeguards added to its traditional safety responsibilities and work is progressing towards an integrated approach. He said the real issue is cultural, not legal.
Zdenka Polovja from the EU’s Joint Research Centre explored the synergies between safety and security and the issues this generated. Using common technology to address both safety and security was an approach that could be desirable in satisfying Gen IV design goals.
An interesting perspective on the integration of safety and security was presented by Dr Roger Howsley, the Director of the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS). He outlined the work of WINS, its best practice guides and the launch of the WINS Academy to provide demonstrable competence in the area of security. Whereas most nuclear company Boards have sub-committees and representation on finance, environment and safety, very few do on security. He sought to shift the culture of security being an issue for the state to one that is a prime responsibility of the duty holder, with a commitment to regular assurance reporting with transparency and a move to outcome based regulation with demonstrable duty holder competence.
Mel Draper, the ex-Head of Non-Proliferation Policy at DECC gave an informative outline of the structure and history of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, with a focus on the Article that encourages the “fullest possible” peaceful use of nuclear energy. This is the vehicle through which, at the related international review conferences, the synergies of the 3Ss are being increasingly emphasised with IAEA in the lead role.
An insight into the role and strategy of the UK’s Civil Nuclear Constabulary as an armed response force, which is funded by the industry, was given by its Chief Constable Mike Griffiths. Its mission, to deter, defend, deny and recover was outlined. The need to build in security as well as safety from the start was emphasised and the need to consider overlapping safety and security emergency exercises was suggested.
Dave Cliff, Licensing Manager for Westinghouse UK’s AP1000, noted that safety and security integration was a challenge as maintaining the standard design was a priority and the two issues had been treated in isolation.
A lively and challenging presentation on the 3S interfaces in operation from Dr Andy Spurr, Managing Director of Nuclear Generation for EDF Energy, rounded up the presentations. Contrasting with the weak regulatory and corporate governance systems in Japan that allowed the Fukushima disaster to happen, Dr Spurr said that an independent and robust regulator was essential but was not the last layer of the defence in depth. The leadership and governance arrangements that achieved a sufficient self regulatory outcome should be there with or without a regulator. He concluded with a challenge – is the drive to achieve ever lower risk frequencies undermining safety, as it can have a negative effect on culture?
The subsequent panel discussion reflected on a final remark by Dr Spurr – the challenge in safety and security is to allow courage and judgement, which is only achieved if there is openness and transparency. Secrecy must never be a cover for incompetence and ways need to be found that allow operational experience feedback to address security as well as safety.
All the speaker presentations are on the UClan web site and for further information contact Geoff Vaughan at firstname.lastname@example.org