There were two main reasons why the head of regulators for nuclear safety within the European Union and Switzerland decided to start a co-operation in 1999 in the framework of WENRA (Western European Nuclear Regulators Association).
Firstly, nuclear safety was included in the European Union set of enlargement criteria, and secondly, national safety approaches have been developed from IAEA Safety Standards, the Convention on Nuclear Safety, but independently.
The main objectives of WENRA at that time were to develop a common approach to nuclear safety and to provide an independent capability to examine nuclear safety in applicant countries.
The reason behind the studies in 1999 and 2000 on nuclear safety in applicant countries was that our governments asked us, as individual regulators, about the status of nuclear safety in applicant countries. To carry out this task we decided to use our common knowledge we had attained by bilateral co-operation with the applicant countries. The joint efforts resulted in two reports making a comparison between reactors licensed in the existing European Union and the reactors licensed in the applicant countries as well as of the legal systems and the mandate and power of the nuclear regulators. The WENRA reports were used for the preparation of the report on nuclear safety in applicant countries issued by the Working Party on Nuclear Safety (WPNS) under the Atomic Questions Group of the European Council. The result of the WPNS report was expressed as recommendations in the accession negotiations by the new members to the European Union. The countries acceding have, in agreement with the accession negotiations, taken adequate measures to fulfil the requirements in the recommendations.
In 1999 WENRA comprised of the heads of nuclear regulatory bodies from 10 countries. Today we are 18 countries represented in WENRA. This means that we have access to more experience in nuclear safety as well as the access to knowledge and experience from additional reactor designs. It was also agreed between all of the 17 countries not to change the name of the organisation, WENRA.
In March 2003 the objectives of the co-operation within WENRA was extended, in addition to the objectives set out in 1999, to become a network of chief nuclear safety regulators in Europe exchanging experience and discussing significant safety issues. It is obvious that WENRA has benefited a lot from the new members by bringing more and new ideas into the discussions.
- Hans Wanner, Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI, 2011 -
- Jukka Laaksonen, Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, 2009-2011
- Dana Drábová, Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety, 2006-2009
- Judith Melin, Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, 2003-2006
- Andre-Claude Lacoste, French Nuclear Safety Authority, 1999-2003