Differences between indus­tries can be identified in all daily work details. From communication and collaboration to competition and leadership styles in the office. The definitive lesson I learnt in the Nuclear industry, was that ‘Safety’ is the over­rid­ing pri­or­ity above any other con­sid­er­a­tion. Comming myself from the automotive and construction industries I had to shift the mode of my “project management” mind.

Later on I have understood how this approach has shaped the orga­ni­za­tional cul­ture industry that per­me­ates all com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions inside. This cul­ture is called Nuclear Safety Culture: “Safety cul­ture is an organization’s val­ues and behaviors — modeled by its leaders and inter­nal­ized by its members — that serve to make nuclear safety the over­rid­ing priority.”

‘Safety’ is the overriding priority above any other consideration in the Nuclear Industry. This approach has made up the organizational culture that permeates all companies and organizations in the industry. This culture is called . It has created a strong sense of commitment in the industry workforce, and it makes them proud of their work.

“Safety culture is an organization’s values and behaviors—modeled by its leaders and internalized by its members—that serve to make nuclear safety the overriding priority.”

This culture has cre­ated a strong sense of commitment within the industry workforce, now I am able to understand how everyone is proud and committed in their job.

Currently, I am working on the NUSHARE project, which aims to develop and implement Education, Training and Information programmes to strengthen the competences required for achieving excellence in Nuclear Safety Culture in Europe. Our team is collecting all the related existing courses in Europe, for a later implementation phase.


NUSHARE

This FP7 project was created after an “European Education, Training and Information initiative” proposed by the Commissioner for Research and Innovation and the Commissioner for Energy after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on 11 March 2011 (Fukushima). I find inspir­ing how peo­ple in our indus­try work with the objec­tive of achiev­ing the high­est lev­els of Nuclear Safety to protect and ben­e­fit our society.

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In November 2004, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) defined and developed the Principles for a Strong Nuclear Safety Culture as follows:

1. Everyone is personally responsible for nuclear safety.
2. Leaders demonstrate commitment to safety.
3. Trust permeates the organization.
4. Decision-making reflects safety first.
5. Nuclear technology is recognized as special and unique.
6. A questioning attitude is cultivated.
7. Organizational learning is embraced.
8. Nuclear safety undergoes constant examination.

Since the begin­ning of my pro­fes­sional career, I have enjoyed dif­fer­ent tech­ni­cal and cul­tural envi­ron­ments from auto­mo­tive to renew­able energy, besides being in coun­tries like UK, Swe­den and China. The pro­fes­sion­al­ism, integrity and commitment found in the nuclear indus­try is above all pre­vi­ous experiences.

I remember how my “nucleariza­tion” took place dur­ing the first 1.5 years of train­ing received in 2009. There I fol­lowed a com­pre­hen­sive and demand­ing train­ing on nuclear tech­nol­ogy and PWR reac­tors; from basic nuclear physics to plant oper­a­tion in a full scope sim­u­la­tor. I remem­ber how our instruc­tors made us per­son­ally accountable for all the nuclear safety aspects related to our training and our future behaviour when performing our respon­si­bil­i­ties. Some of us, as future instruc­tors in PWR plants we had to be as rig­or­ous as trained. We learned the impor­tance of “adher­ence to pro­ce­dures” and the need of writ­ten evi­dences on all steps taken. The use of the 3-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion were shocking at the beggining, and we found how peer-checks are use­ful in engineering design. Tools of human error pre­ven­tion are always necessary to stay on the safe side dur­ing the deci­sion tak­ing in crit­i­cal engi­neer­ing processes.

The efforts in our com­pany to main­tain and increase the highest levels of Nuclear Safety Cul­ture were in-house designed and implemented by a group of engineering and psichologists. Orga­ni­za­tional cul­ture is defined as “the shared basic assump­tions devel­oped in an orga­ni­za­tion as it learns and copes with prob­lems”. The Nuclear indus­try found, along its accumulated operational experience of three thousand years, how Safety Cul­ture is a key factor in the over­all suc­cess to deliver clean and stable Nuclear energy in any given country.