A workshop and the spring meeting of the Working Group on Operating Experience of the Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD NEA) were held at the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority from 25 to 28 April 2022, focusing on the programmes developed by Member States to utilize the operating experience of nuclear power plants.
An operating experience feedback programme prepared and implemented in high quality is one of the cornerstones of nuclear safety and allows for continuous improvement of nuclear safety through the sharing of accumulated experience. International cooperation on operating experience has a long history and is essential for many organisations such as the OECD NEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Today, most countries have such programmes in place and the nuclear community has made considerable efforts to make progress in this area, but there is a need to continuously develop and improve working methods.
During the three days of the workshop, participants exchanged experience on how to inspect the operating experience sharing programmes developed by licensees of nuclear power plants in their countries. There was more discussion on the structure and development of the databases used in each country, but also on how to utilize experiences from external sources.
Presentations closely related to the workshop theme were given by national and international organisations. Presentations were given by representatives of HungaroControl on the operation of their own experience utilization system for air traffic control, by the representative of Paks Nuclear Power Plant on the process and challenges of using internal and external operating experience, and by the representative of the IAEA on the methods used by the agency. In addition, a virtual presentation was given by a representative of the Spanish (CSN) and the US (US NRC) authorities on their used methodologies.
The goal for participants was to learn from each other and identify good practices for improving workflows, the results of which were summarised in working group papers elaborated during the week. The workshop was considered successful by the organizers, the participants were active and well prepared.
After the workshop, the working group held its first face-to-face meeting since the beginning of the pandemic. At the beginning of the meeting, the current Chair gave an update on the progress since the last meeting and an overview of the future tasks. The representative of the OECD NEA then presented the plans for the transformation of the working groups and how the current working group will carry out its tasks. The next meeting will take place in October this year, in Vienna.