The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) unites almost all the nuclear power plants across the globe. Created in response to the Chernobyl accident, its aim is to improve the safety of nuclear power plants through collaboration.
Some of WANO’s workers come from different nuclear power plants. They spend a few years at the association before returning to their own plant.
WANO carries out a number of different activities, including an audit, or peer review, that is conducted in each nuclear plant every four years. This September, it was the turn of the Ascó nuclear power plant in Catalonia, Spain.
The audits take around three weeks and involve some 25 auditors from WANO who visit the plant to analyse different aspects of safety such as mechanical and electrical systems, the nuclear reactor, personnel knowledge, etc. A parallel objective is to share information about the best practices of other nuclear power plants and to learn from the best practices of the Ascó plant.
The peer review is carried out through field observations and interviews with personnel at the plant. To facilitate communication with the personnel during these tasks, a team of 14 interpreters specialised in the nuclear power sector were brought in to assist in the process.
A physicist by profession, I am often asked to translate technical guides and articles relating to both conventional and nuclear power plants, so I was familiar with the subject matter, although it was my first time interpreting at a nuclear power plant.
The experience of gaining a further insight into the operation of a nuclear power plant, of being present at these meetings and visiting the facilities was an excellent learning opportunity for me and a real privilege. I hope to be able to repeat the experience in the near future.