What is ETSON?

Technical safety organisations, or TSO, play an important role in nuclear safety and security. Their main task is to provide competent, reliable and impartial technical expertise to the nuclear regulatory body of their respective country. Furthermore, many TSO strongly engage in furthering the state of science and technology by conducting research and development (R&D), thus providing both the knowledge and the analytic tools needed to ensure a high level of safety and security in the nuclear field.

Founded in 2006 and being an independent legal entity since 2011, the European Technical Safety Organisations Network (ETSON) serves as a common platform to its member organisations

* to form a suitable forum for voluntary exchanges on safety analyses and R&D in the field of nuclear safety by sharing experiences and exchanging technical and scientific opinions,

* to contribute to fostering the convergence of technical nuclear safety practices within the European Union and beyond,

* to further the planning of nuclear safety research programmes and facilitate their implementation,

* to facilitate the application of the European directive on nuclear safety, and

* work together in safety assessment and research projects funded separately and organised by the respective members in dedicated consortia. Each ETSON member organisation commits itself to a set of jointly agreed basic values.

In pursuing its objectives, ETSON has established the Technical Board on Reactor Safety (TBRS) and its 14 supporting expert groups (EG). In these groups, experts from member organisations exchange information and work together on various topics of nuclear safety assessment and research, ranging from generic aspects such as safety concepts or emergency preparedness and response to specific technical fields like safety fluid systems or mechanical and electrical systems. A major output of the expert groups´ activities are the so-called Technical Safety Assessment Guides (TSAG) which are part of ETSON´s publications. Furthermore, workshops on specific technical and scientific issues are organised by individual member organisations on behalf of the network.

With a view to supporting further the definition and the implementation of nuclear safety research programmes in Europe, the network has also established the ETSON Research Group. Since 2000, the group´s experts collaborate to develop and communicate common positions on relevant research tasks, both within the networks and to stakeholders on the European and international level. This includes the identification of research needs as well as the definition and implementation of respective research programmes.

As the third pillar of the network´s technical and scientifical activities, the ETSON Knowledge Management Group is tasked to foster the mutual exchange on concepts and tools to share relevant knowledge to enhance cooperation within the network as well to contribute to enhancing nuclear safety in general.

To share and exchange on the activities of ETSON as well as of its members with other stakeholders, the network organises the annual EUROSAFE conference. The organisation on behalf of the network is currently provided by Bel V (Belgium), GRS (Germany) and IRSN (France) which host the event alternately in their respective countries.

With a view to foster the development of the next generation of experts in nuclear safety and security, ETSON has established its Junior Staff Programme (JSP) which brings together young experts from member organisations to learn from each other and form personal networks across national borders.

ETSON Organisational Chart