Office for Nuclear Regulation

Our People – Ivaylo Stanev, Regulatory Intelligence

22 April, 2022

Welcome to our new regular feature, focusing on ONR’s staff and the work we do every day to help keep the nuclear industry safe and secure. ‘Our People’ aims to bring our jobs to life while increasing understanding of our role among key stakeholders.

Ivaylo StanevToday, we learn more about Ivaylo Stanev, a Regulatory Intelligence lead for ONR and International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) officer for the UK.

The 62-year-old joined ONR in 2013 after working in the nuclear sector in several different countries including Bulgaria, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Born in Bulgaria, he graduated as a Master of Nuclear Engineering before securing a job in a nuclear equipment manufacturing plant and then a research institute dealing with safety analysis.

Ivaylo, who is known as Ivo amongst his work colleagues, previously received training from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and worked on several worldwide projects before he decided to leave Bulgaria as the nuclear industry started to be scaled back.

His first role with ONR was as a fault studies assessor.

In Ivo’s current role as a Regulatory Intelligence lead, he is responsible for analysing ONR’s operational experience and supporting the “Incidents” database on the newly implemented content management database – WIReD (Well Informed Regulatory Decisions) – where ONR collects information about safety-related events on UK nuclear sites, as well as records of regulatory follow-up of these events.

Every six months, a summary of analysed operational experience is sent in a report to the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s office and the Senior Leadership Team.

Ivo also works as the independent UK INES officer, in contact with IAEA. He reports to the international agency any incidents rated Level 2, or higher, on the globally established INES scale.

The dutyholder always first reports an incident and discussions and investigations are carried out before the numbered rating is finalised.

The INES ratings provide a consistent method of evaluating incidents by regulators and is widely accepted around the world.

A rating of 1 is described as an ‘anomaly’ and 2 as an ‘incident’, at which point (INES=2) it must be reported to the IAEA – a requirement of our participation in the international nuclear community.

To perform this function, Ivo has received specialist training from the IAEA. In turn, he provides training and consultations to the dutyholder’s INES officers, and to ONR inspectors involved in the evaluation of events’ safety significance.

Once finalised, INES ratings are reported to the IAEA, and shared with the Department for Business, Energy, Industry and Strategy (BEIS).

Ivaylo StanevIvo said: “I enjoy my work for ONR as it involves a weekly review of all incidents reported in the UK and abroad, and provides dynamic communications with site inspectors, dutyholders and BEIS officers. My fault studies experience comes in handy when supporting the assigned inspector to establish the importance of an incident.”

“It is a constant challenge and keeps you on your toes – you need to be technically competent to discuss the details with site inspectors and with the licensees when things need to be clarified.”

“It is demanding, but also rewarding especially when we reach an agreement with the inspector and the licensee on the safety significance and INES rating of a complex event.”

Outside of work, Ivo lives in Merseyside with his wife and has two grown up children who work in medicine and engineering.

He enjoys swimming, diving and walking.

Having worked in the nuclear sectors in several different countries, Ivo has a good perspective of different regulatory approaches around the world and is a strong supporter of the UK’s goal-setting arrangement, where the burden is placed on the dutyholder to operate safely and with as minimal risk as possible.

Other regulatory approaches abroad, of which he has had experience, can sometimes be too prescriptive, he believes, which substantially increases the costs and time spent by the regulator to substantiate prescriptions.

Ivo added: “I find the UK approach very efficient.

“Here, it’s for the dutyholders to prove they have taken necessary measures to ensure public safety.

“We check these against established good practices and standards, do research, on very specific topics on issues which may be particular to occurrences in the UK.

“It has proved very successful.

“My impression of ONR is positive – we are treated with great respect in international forums.”