Editorial - October 2017

In the context of the EUROSAFE Forum 2017 in Paris, France on November 6-7, I would like to underscore how important this meeting is for sharing knowledge and experience among the nuclear safety and radiation protection communities of experts, for the benefit of nuclear safety today and in the future. I also urge TSOs worldwide – and ETSON member TSOs in particular – to continue to provide this unique initiative with the strongest possible support.

As regards ETSON, the Network has succeeded, over the past couple of months, in making significant strides in its development to keep up with a changing environment. Nuclear safety calls, more than ever, upon independent assessment capabilities based on scientific and technical self-reliance, and so ETSON has revised its strategic vision. First, the Network enhanced its technical focus, notably with the upcoming release of a new technical report that compares the requirements applied for RPV fracture mechanical assessments for PWR plants. The reports released by ETSON are suited to assessments of the safety cases transmitted by the utilities for new builds, modifications or incident analysis. They constitute an irreplaceable tool to capture the knowledge from retiring generations before it disappears. Bel V is deeply involved in these developments through its chair of the Technical Board on Reactor Safety (TBRS) and participation in each working group.

Another major strategic axis is to increase ETSON’s impact on the nuclear safety arena worldwide through extended collaboration with European and international organisations, starting with the European Commission and the IAEA. In this regard, the agreement signed in Vienna during the Agency’s 2017 General Conference allows ETSON to participate as an associated organisation in the IAEA’s activities and deliverables, notably through the work carried out as part of the Agency’s review missions and conferences, and within the TSO Forum, whose 2018 Conference will be hosted by Bel V in Brussels. On a European scale, in-depth discussions are in progress, both with the Commission on how ETSON can step up its contribution to the implementation of the EU safety directive, and with the EC’s Joint Research Centres on the best means to collect and share knowledge for safety research and assessment purposes.

In the meantime, ETSON further expanded its membership by welcoming a new member during its General Assembly organised by the Italian TSO ENEA in Frascati (near Rome) at the end of June. The Romanian TSO RATEN ICN Pitesti became ETSON’s 16th member.

Last but not least, the Summer Workshop 2017 on Uncertainty and sensitivity in safety analysis, organised by the ETSON Junior Staff Programme members and hosted by the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia in July, once again proved a success with very good attendance and positive feedback.

There is still much to be done to harmonise our nuclear safety cultures and practices, but the encouraging achievements mentioned above are a clear sign of the TSOs’ readiness to go on moving jointly in the right direction.

 

Benoît De Boeck
General Manager, Bel V
President, ETSON