The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) have signed a new agreement enabling them to ‘work more closely’ to support the safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants worldwide.

Under a new memorandum of understanding, announced 17 September, the two organisations will be able to enhance information exchange on operating experience and other relevant areas. The agreement follows recommendations from both organisations for increased collaboration, following the Fukushima accident.

“Through the new agreement, the two organisations are adopting a more coordinated approach to their respective activities, in order to help prevent further accidents and mitigate the consequences should an accident occur,” they announced in a joint statement.

Plans are now in place to coordinate the timing of IAEA Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) missions and WANO peer reviews, and to arrange periodic meetings of WANO and Agency staff to discuss major safety-related activities.

The two organisations will also cooperate and coordinate work on their respective performance indicator programmes, and will work towards exchanging information and support in the event of a serious event at a nuclear power plant or fuel cycle facility. The IAEA and WANO will also supply staff to each other’s review teams when appropriate, and will regularly exchange documents relating to operating experience.

IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said: “The IAEA’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety emphasises the importance of working more closely with WANO and other international organisations, so that we can all better address the demands of the future. This agreement is an important step in strengthening that cooperation and enhancing the flow of information on nuclear safety issues.”

WANO chairman Laurent Stricker commented: “An important lesson we learned from Fukushima was the need for WANO to be better connected to and engaged with the IAEA.”

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