Office for Nuclear Regulation

ONR attends international working group on reactor oversight

29 September, 2023

working group on reactor oversight (WGRO)The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has attended a working group on reactor oversight (WGRO) this week as part of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Committee on Nuclear Regulatory Activities (CNRA).

This engagement took place at the NEA office in Paris and was attended by Mahtab Khan, our Superintending Inspector and Safeguards Delivery Lead.

The WGRO has been established with a three-year mandate, with Mahtab appointed as vice-chair, which is a mechanism for nuclear safety regulators and Technical Support Organizations (TSOs) to share their knowledge and experience on both the human and technical aspects of reactor oversight.

The group aims to facilitate an active and timely exchange of good practices, and benefit from lessons learnt, to help nuclear regulators perform their functions more effectively and efficiently.

This week’s workshop was attended by nuclear safety regulators from the UK, France, the USA, Germany, Finland, Japan, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Romania, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Canada, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and Mexico.

The session evaluated feedback and shared best practice from recently-completed international observed inspections, and reviewed and agreed the programme for future observed inspection within the member states.

The UK, and ONR, plays a key part in the observed inspection programme.

Attendees also discussed the technical underpinning of the scope for the International Nuclear Regulatory Oversight Workshop, scheduled to take place in Japan in November 2024.

Three topics will be evaluated by international experts at the workshop: regulatory oversight of cross-cutting issues, loss of electrical supplies causing station blackout, resulting from external hazards and innovations in regulatory oversight approaches.

The UK will lead on innovations in regulatory oversight approaches, with Canada as co-lead.

The WGRO liaises closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Commission, international non-governmental organisations including the World Association of Nuclear Operators and the International Reporting System for Operating Experience (IRS).

Mahtab said: “Nuclear safety regulators from across the globe are focused on identifying and sharing best practice in regulatory oversight to ensure the ultimate safety of the workforce and the public.

“Our work at WGRO is beneficial for analysing operating experience to promote consistency of regulatory practice within nuclear fleets across the world.”