ETSON was founded in 2006 by GRS, IRSN and Bel V (then AVN). In the meantime, ETSON has expanded to currently 16 members, mainly from the European Union, supporting their national Regulatory body. It is time now to reflect on what we have achieved, what we want to achieve and how our environment has changed. It is time to update our strategy.
The documents produced by ETSON’s technical groups, known as technical safety assessment guides, are earning ever-greater recognition and wider use. The expertise and the contacts consolidated within ETSON contain a very high potential to achieve the best technical results in the interest of safety and to support harmonisation and the growing-together of the Member States of the European Union.
In this perspective, the vision of ETSON is to contribute to enhancing and standardizing safety practices and science based safety assessments. Indeed it is not sufficient to verify compliance with regulation to ensure safety. A safety approach based on technical expertise is necessary. And this expertise must be based on knowledge management and relevant safety research. In order to implement this vision, ETSON wants to:
- Be the major cooperative workplace for technical safety issues in Europe;
- Be a source of technical reflexions on safety issues;
- Produce technical outcome and positions that foster the enhancement and harmonization of safety practices in Europe.
ETSON also wants to strengthen its links with the IAEA, which already recognizes the role of TSOs (TSOs Forum, TECDOC on TSOs). An agreement between the IAEA and ETSON is under consideration, which would allow ETSON to participate as an associated organisation to the IAEA activities and deliverables. This could take several forms, including through the work of the TSO Forum and IAEA review missions and conferences. Since 2007 the IAEA organises regularly a TSO conference. The last one was in 2014 in Beijing. ETSON participated significantly to this event. The next TSO Conference will be in Brussels end of October 2018. ETSON is of course planning to be heavily involved in its preparation and its conduct. It also means that – after the successful restart of EUROSAFE Forum in 2016 in Munich - there will be no EUROSAFE Forum in 2018, so do not miss the next EUROSAFE Forum in Paris on 6 and 7 November 2017.
One very successful activity of ETSON is the Junior Staff Program (JSP). The young ETSON researchers participating in the JSP represent the future of nuclear safety activities in Europe. It is important to continue to promote this action and to encourage the networking between these young researchers, and reinforcing contacts between them should be a major objective. The yearly summer workshop organised by and for the junior staff of the ETSON members is instrumental in this regard. The yearly ETSON Award is also a visible initiative with the aim to promote the work of young experts.
Benoît De Boeck