The NEA Working Group on Safety Culture (WGSC) held its biannual meeting on 23-25 November 2021 to review the ongoing work on safety culture and leadership in nuclear regulators. Established in 2017, the group facilitates an open exchange of information and experiences among nuclear regulators in order to improve their safety culture, address their influences on the safety culture of licensees and consider related implications on regulatory effectiveness.
The WGSC is building upon previous work developing methodologies for self-reflection and self-assessment of the regulatory body’s safety culture and is now examining the impact of the regulatory body on the licensees, and vice versa, from a safety culture perspective. During the November meeting, the group members reviewed and approved their research design to conduct interviews and focus groups on this topic. Data collection is planned for 2022, with a report expected in 2023.
In parallel, the group is also working on a task on leadership for safety culture within the regulatory body. In the course of 2021, delegates have collected data on current leadership frameworks in use by nuclear energy regulators with the aim of identifying trends and gaps to build toward the development of an international model. The group members are seeking to identify the leadership characteristics needed in nuclear regulatory bodies to maintain a healthy safety culture, as well as examples of day-to-day individual and group behaviours. Further data collection will be undertaken jointly with the interviews on the impact of the regulator on the licensee. The group aims to produce a practical guidance document for use by regulatory staff at all levels.
The members also examined the reception and use cases of the WGSC report published earlier in the year about the methods, practices and approaches applied by nuclear regulatory bodies in order to foster and sustain a healthy safety culture. The report has found a wide range of applications –including to launch organisational self-assessments and surveys, training, informational videos, seminars, workshops and as the basis for conference presentations.