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Learning organisations for nuclear safety

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Improving organization of nuclear facilities

The ever changing socio-political, economic, regulatory, workforce and technological environments impose new needs on the management of nuclear power plants. Aiming at achieving operational excellence and optimal safety under these changing environments, organisational learning is adopted by the nuclear industry.

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Nuclear power plants continuously undergo changes as dictated by the existing political, social, economical, technological, regulatory and other conditions each time. Implementing these changes could potentially cause minor problems that could lead to a chain reaction of events resulting in a deterioration of safety and/or public trust in the safety standards. With the focus on safeguarding the normal adaptation of an organisation to changes, the LearnSafe project developed methods and tools for supporting organisational learning at nuclear power plants. The project was completed in two phases, the first related to the management of change and the second to organisational learning, both including empirical investigations and theoretical considerations. Senior managers provided their views on contemporary challenges that nuclear power plants face and on hindrances and facilitators of organisational learning. The collected data set comes from ten nuclear power plants and one international organisation in five countries. Data analysis illustrated important information for major stakeholders regarding improvements in the nuclear field and identified key groups of facilitators and hindrances to organisational learning. In addition, explicit descriptions of methods and tools were generated for further use by the nuclear power plants when assessing and improving performance. Benchmarking also displayed good practices for safety management and a Network of Excellence "Strategies and Practices of Safety Management (SafeMan)" was created for research activities. Such activities include areas of leadership and management, communication, processes for decision-making, experience and competency. The LearnSafe project was successfully completed offering results that can significantly contribute to the implementation of effective and efficient management of change and organisational learning. Furthermore, the experience gained showed that the continuous interaction between researchers and managers is important for addressing issues related to safety and efficiency. For more information please visit the project site at : .

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