The Mutual Impact of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies and License Holders from a Safety Culture Perspective

Most safety incidents are often not due to a technical fault or the actions of a single individual, but rather originate in a compromised safety culture – the collection of the beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to risks within an organisation, such as a workplace or a community.

Regulatory bodies, by their very nature, have a deep influence on the safety culture of nuclear site licence holders. But this influence can also flow in the other direction, from licensee to regulatory body. Based on the insights from senior practitioners worldwide, this report examines the factors and mechanisms by which nuclear regulatory bodies and site license holders influence the safety culture of the other. It presents a model, accountability-oriented, enabling regulation, for a regulatory body’s approach to foster a licensee’s accountability for safety. This approach builds on the concept of performance (or outcome) based regulation, but also includes a focus on risk (or hazard), processes, and licensee selfassessment. Two main factors determine the extent to which a regulatory body is able to adopt an accountability-oriented, enabling approach: the maturity of the safety culture at the licensee and in the regulatory body. In both cases, the more mature the safety culture, the more an accountability-oriented, enabling regulatory approach is likely to succeed.

Regulatory bodies and licensees are encouraged to use this report to assess the health of their interactions and identify areas for improvement and good practices to share.