World’s Leading Nuclear Exporting Companies conclude review meeting of their Nuclear Power Plant and Reactor Exporters’ Principles of Conduct (NuPoC)

March 5, 2015
Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy

SEOUL—The participating nuclear exporting companies and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (customarily chairing the meeting) have concluded a sixth meeting to review the implementation of NuPoC. These unprecedented Principles establish clear voluntary guidelines for negotiating export contracts, designing facilities and engaging customers. NuPoC creates common high standards of practice in the areas of safety, security, nonproliferation, environmental protection, ethics, and liability insurance. Together, they represent a voluntary industry code of conduct that complements and often exceeds national laws and regulations, thus raising the bar globally on the standards of responsible nuclear conduct.

NuPoC’s secretariat, with the local support of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), convened the meeting in Seoul on October 21 and 22, 2014. Participants were welcomed by Hee-Yong Lee, executive vice president and chief nuclear officer of KEPCO, who gave a presentation on the second day of the meeting on lessons learned and best practices from KEPCO’s general experiences in an overseas project.

In keeping with the spirit of having an open process that welcomes the participation of all relevant designers and exporters of nuclear facilities, participants welcomed the adoption by INVAP, a leading vendor of nuclear facilities, based in Argentina. Vendors changed the initiative’s name to “The Nuclear Power Plant and Reactor Exporters’ Principles of Conduct” to reflect its broadening scope. Vendors reported on activities undertaken to educate their customers about NuPoC and took additional steps to ease further entry of new adopting companies in NuPoC.

As a reflection of Vendors’ common interest in promoting safety and security within the nuclear industry, active and retired regulators are customarily invited to participate in NuPoC’s meetings. In this meeting, André-Claude Lacoste, chairman of the sixth review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) and expert for the Principles of Conduct process, discussed the recommendations from the CNS sixth review meeting. Vendors also welcomed Yoon-Won Park, former president of the Korean Institute for Nuclear Safety and professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Together, and in the spirit of continuous improvement, they underscored the importance of identifying and implementing appropriate safety improvements at existing nuclear power plants.

Vendors acknowledged that the prime responsibility for safe operation rests with operators. Updating Principle 1, they expressed their eagerness to learn from operating experience and seek continuous safety improvements to the existing nuclear power plants they have supplied. Vendors committed to integrating essential safety enhancements in their future nuclear power plant designs. Vendors look forward to discussing these important matters with the World Association of Nuclear Operators and leading regulators at their next meeting.

Welcoming continuing dialogue with the International Atomic Energy Agency , and in response to its suggestion, Vendors updated Principle 2 to better reflect the application of the Principles to cyber-security matters. To facilitate implementation, Vendors agreed that from now on updates of the Principles will routinely go into effect every January first of the new year. Vendors discussed ways in which they could take the lead to cooperate with other nuclear stakeholders, in particular operators and regulators, to advance NuPoC’s spirit of nuclear responsibility culture worldwide. In addition, Vendors agreed to step up their outreach to nuclear engineering schools and other post-graduate level institutions of higher education, to encourage them to expand their curriculum to include NuPoC as an example of an industry led corporate social responsibility initiative and best practice.

Meeting participants updated each other on their implementation activities and shared best practices in the areas of employee education, management engagement, and sustaining continuous support for NuPoC at all levels within companies. Vendors underscored the importance of the integrity of the supply chain to the safety of the nuclear power plants they export. To that effect Vendors discussed the importance of deeper engagement with suppliers, in particular in their quality assurance programs.

Vendors continue to strengthen NuPoC as an important forum where vendors can share experiences and insights in addressing challenges in implementing the Principles, to benefit the public interest. A digest of these insights will be made publicly available in coming weeks on the initiative’s website (www.nuclearprinciples.org). Several Vendors individually presented generic case studies reflecting on the kind of challenges they experience in the implementation of the Principles, including in nuclear newcomer countries, and ways in which these challenges could be overcome in different settings. In the context of Principle 5, Professor ManSung Yim, head of the Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering at KAIST, discussed his research regarding the relationship between nonproliferation and nuclear energy.

Vendors in attendance at the Seoul meeting included:

  • AREVA
  • ATMEA
  • Candu Energy
  • Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy
  • INVAP
  • GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
  • KEPCO
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Rusatom Overseas
  • Toshiba
  • Westinghouse Electric Company

The participating companies are scheduled to meet again in May 2015.