The western European safety regulators founded the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) at the beginning of 1999. This move was triggered by the necessity to develop a common position concerning the safety of nuclear power plants in EU candidate states for accession negotiations. In March 2003, co-operation within WENRA was extended. WENRA now defines itself as a network of nuclear safety regulators in Europe whose aim it is to exchange experience and discuss significant safety issues relating to the operation of nuclear installations.
Currently, WENRA has three technical working groups in which experts from regulatory authorities, partly supported by experts from the national technical safety organisations, deal in depth with regulatory aspects of nuclear safety. Currently, the following three WENRA working groups are in place:
- Reactor Harmonization Working Group (RHWG)
- Working Group on Research Reactors (WGRR)
- Working Group on Waste and Decommissioning (WGWD)
Reactor Harmonisation Working Group (RHWG)
The RHWG deals with nuclear safety issues for European nuclear power plants with the aim of continuously improving safety of nuclear power plants and establishing a common harmonised minimum level of nuclear safety for European nuclear power plants.
In 2005, the RHWG defined a total of about 300 basic requirements, the so-called Safety Reference Levels, grouped in 18 safety issues (e.g. "Design Basis Envelope for Existing Reactors", "Probabilistic Safety Analysis (PSA)" or "Operational Limits and Conditions OLC). The RHWG member states have committed themselves to implement these requirements in their respective national regulatory framework. In addition, the RHWG develops recommendations, position papers and statements on specific topics, e.g. for requirements on the safety of new reactors. In 2014, the findings from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were analysed and taken into account in the revised version of the "Safety Reference Levels". A further update of the WENRA Safety Reference Levels was carried out in 2020 and published in February 2021.
- WENRA Reference Levels, January 2008
- WENRA Reference Levels, September 2014
- WENRA Safety Reference Levels for Existing Reactors 2020, February 2021
Furthermore, RHWG develops safety objectives for new nuclear power plants. These were published in November 2010 in the WENRA Statement "Safety objectives for new nuclear power plants" and further explained in a report in 2013.
- Safety objectives for new nuclear power plants, November 2010
- RHWG Report on Safety of new NPP designs, March 2013
Working Group on Research Reactors (WGRR)
In 2016, WENRA decided to develop Safety Reference Levels for research reactors. To this end, an ad-hoc working group was initially formed, which has since been established as permanent working group. In November 2020, WENRA published a set of Safety Reference Levels for research reactors for the first time. These are based on the Safety Reference Levels of RHWG of September 2014 and already take into account adaptations of Issue C "Leadership and Management" and Issue I "Ageing Management" of the 2020 version of the RHWG "Safety Reference Levels".
On the WENRA homepage you can also access further official documents, WENRA News as well as an overview of the two other groups within WENRA: the "Working Group on Waste and Decommissioning (WGWD)" and the "WENRA Inspection Working Group (WIG)" (this group completed its work in 2012).