"Develop a science based approach to nuclear safety" 
Benoît De Boeck, President of the European Technical Safety Organisations Network (ETSON), about the EUROSAFE Forum 2015
Yesterday you kicked off the EUROSAFE Forum 2015. Why did you choose “Implementing the 2014 European directive: nuclear safety and security challenges ahead" as theme?
Let me first tell you that ETSON, the European Technical Safety Organisation Network, is the European association of nuclear assessment bodies (TSOs) that realize the technical evaluation of safety files. The members are professional science based organisations from the nuclear countries in Europe, giving technical support to their national nuclear safety authorities. More information can be found on the ETSON website. One of the activities of ETSON is to organise a yearly conference: the EUROSAFE Forum, with a different theme each year.
The publication of the European Directive 2009/71/EURATOM was already an important element for nuclear safety and this importance was further emphasized by the publication of its amendment, Directive 2014/87/Euratom. In particular, the Directive is an important element to maintain and promote the continuous improvement of nuclear safety.
Further, the interface of nuclear safety and nuclear security is getting more and more attention worldwide. With choosing the theme as mentioned above, we saw a good opportunity to cover these elements altogether, by providing, as usual in the plenary session of the EUROSAFE Forum, views from an international organisation, an operating organisation, a safety authority and a TSO.
Nuclear energy contributes approximately one third of European electricity production and nuclear safety is a priority for the countries of Europe. At the same time the challenges to nuclear safety are increasingly international. You have 17 partners - shouldn’t all countries partner with you?
All European countries with nuclear power plants are of course welcome to join ETSON. However there is not a separate TSO in each country. Therefore the nuclear safety authority of countries without TSO are invited to participate in the EUROSAFE Programme committee, without the necessity to be a member of ETSON.
ETSON is a growing network accepting also TSOs from countries outside Europe as associated members. Indeed, ETSON aims to develop and promote best practices in nuclear safety assessments and this is of course not a purely European objective.
ETSON benefits from the experience of its members in order to contribute to the harmonisation of nuclear safety practices. ETSON also intends to foster the dialogue between the European TSO Network and the European Nuclear Safety Authorities, as well as other European Union Institutions, the IAEA (through the TSO Forum) and other international organisations.
EUROSAFE is an international forum for discussions among experts from technical safety organisations, research institutes, the industry, safety and public authorities and NGOs about nuclear installation safety. Has your forum in a more and more digitised world become more or less important?
The EUROSAFE approach rests on three pillars:
The EUROSAFE website provides a record of contributions made to the Forum and the Tribune, keeping visitors up to date with matters of interest and work carried out in the field of radiological protection and nuclear safety. Among other things, visitors can consult contributions to previous EUROSAFE Forums and all issues of the EUROSAFE Tribune, and ask questions concerning the organisation of the Forum.
The EUROSAFE Tribune is a publication, freely available on the website, providing all concerned organisations with articles about key issues in the world of nuclear safety and radiological protection, and thus serves as a platform for exchanging opinions and conducting debates.
The EUROSAFE Forum brings together representatives of organisations specialised in nuclear and radiological safety techniques, research institutes, power utilities, industry, public authorities and non-governmental organisations. Even in a more and more digitised world, the direct contacts and networking among peers have a real benefit. This explains why each year several hundred experts participate in the Forum.
Why did you select Brussels as destination for the EUROSAFE Forum 2015?
The organisation of the EUROSAFE Forum is done on a turn-around basis amongst France, Germany and Belgium, with IRSN, GRS and Bel V playing a key role in organising this event. On this turn-around basis, it was up to Belgium to organise the 2015 EUROSAFE Forum.
For practical reasons, such as accommodation and travel, Brussels is then a good choice to host the Forum. The fact that the theme of the Forum is related to the European Directive and that Brussels is playing a key role in hosting so many European institutions provides in addition a nice combination.
What are the two biggest challenges for EUROSAFE these days?
The main challenges I see for EUROSAFE, and more generally for the TSOs worldwide, are the following:
The first one is the contribution of TSOs to support building nuclear safety assessment capacity in countries expanding and embarking on nuclear power. TSOs increasingly work across borders, providing crucial assistance to regulatory bodies in places with fewer resources. It is therefore necessary to clarify expectations of TSOs in these circumstances, and that countries using an external TSO must have the in-house competencies to review the TSO’s work (i.e. they must be ‘intelligent customers’).
The second challenge is to continue to develop a science based approach to nuclear safety. Because nuclear safety is science based, TSOs have a special role to play in addressing the safety challenges facing the nuclear community. TSO functions are part of each step of a holistic approach to nuclear safety. It is not sufficient to verify compliance with legal requirements. The science based work in TSO functions requires research to develop the science and knowledge base. Countries must therefore ensure that TSOs and research institutions have the resources to carry out their duties.
EUROSAFE is a global and European initiative aimed at promoting the convergence of technical nuclear safety practices in Europe. It is formed and managed by 17 EUROSAFE partners such as Bel V (Belgium), CV REZ (Czech Republic), GRS (Germany), ANVS (The Netherlands), IRSN (France), JSI (Slovenia), LEI (Lithuania), ONR (United Kingdom), SEC NRS (Russia) and SSTC NRS (Ukraine). Some of these organisations are also members of ETSON, the European Technical Safety Organisation Network. The EUROSAFE Forum 2015 will take place on 2/3 November 2015 in Brussels. w w w. eurosafe-forum. org