In the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site in March 2011, the Japanese nuclear industry reached out to the international community to provide assistance in a number of areas.
Recognising the credibility and track record of the UK’s nuclear industry in terms of the implementation of stringent safety and security arrangements, Japanese inspectors and site operators within the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) received direct support and skills training from specialists within our nuclear consultancy team at Hydrock.
Our team has helped TEPCO develop a culture of ‘challenge’ in matters relating to nuclear safety. The UK nuclear industry has developed over many years both the processes and the behaviours that encourage challenge at various levels and at certain points within projects. TEPCO has since formed the Nuclear Safety Oversight Office in order to introduce a more rigorous and structured process of challenge.
Through a number of in-country visits, highly experienced and knowledgeable personnel from our team have supported TEPCO in the following ways:
- Providing training on ‘independent oversight’, with both classroom and site-based work to review findings and lessons learned
- Independent review of, and guidance on, the development of management practices in the discipline of radiation protection, waste management, safety assessments and culture, safety leadership and management, training, competency, work authorisation and control
- Mentoring the Nuclear Safety Oversight Office teams by participating in inspections, interviews with site personnel and observation of meetings
- Supply and explanation of UK and International Atomic Energy Agency guidance materials, and provision of advice based upon previous experience as former regulators and operators
All advice was delivered with great respect to Japanese culture. The support has been well-received and remains ongoing. It has resulted in a more structured approach to ‘challenge’ within TEPCO and the implementation of practices based on well-established international best practice.
Following on from this work, we authored an article on why the culture of challenge is vital when dealing with nuclear safety issues which was published in the April 2015 edition of Nuclear Future.
Download the full article below, which is reproduced with the kind permission of The Nuclear Institute.