The fundamental objective of all nuclear safety regulatory bodies is to ensure that nuclear utilities operate their plants in an acceptably safe manner at all times. Learning from experience has been a key element in meeting this objective. It is therefore very important for nuclear power plant operators to have an active programme for collecting, analysing and acting on the lessons of operating experience that could affect the safety of their plants.
NEA experts have noted that almost all of the recent, significant events reported at international meetings have occurred earlier in one form or another. Counter-actions are usually well-known, but information does not always seem to reach end users, or corrective action programmes are not always rigorously applied. Thus, one of the challenges that needs to be met in order to maintain good operational safety performance is to ensure that operating experience is promptly reported to established reporting systems, preferably international in order to benefit from a larger base of experience, and that the lessons from operating experience are actually used to promote safety.
This report focuses on how regulatory bodies can ensure that operating experience is used effectively to promote the safety of nuclear power plants. While directed at nuclear power plants, the principles in this report may apply to other nuclear facilities as well.