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Nuclear Construction Lessons Learned - Guidance on Best Practice: Nuclear safety culture

24 February 2015

This Engineering the Future paper gives guidance and recommendations for improving the safety culture on nuclear projects.

Nuclear Construction Lessons Learned - Guidance on Best Practice: Nuclear safety culture
Nuclear safety is paramount if the public is to accept an increased role for nuclear in the energy mix

Who wrote this?

Engineering the Future is a broad alliance of the engineering institutions and bodies which represent the UK’s 450,000 professional engineers, including the Engineering Council; EngineeringUK; Institution of Chemical Engineers; Institution of Civil Engineers; Institution of Engineering and Technology; Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Institute of Physics; and Royal Academy of Engineering.

The main authors for Engineering the Future were

  • Paul Thomas (Nuclear Institute)
  • Bob Skelton (Institution of Chemical Engineers)
  • David Baird (Jacobs)
  • Gwen Parry-Jones (EDF)
  • Keith Waller (Department for Energy and Climate Change)

The working group members were

  • Stephanie McKenna (Nuclear Industry Association UK)
  • Simon Turner (Foster Wheeler)
  • Andy Furlong (Institution of Chemical Engineers)
  • Craig Reiersen (Nuclear Industry Inspectorate)
  • Matthew Parker (Institution of Civil Engineers)
  • Andrew Crudgington (Institution of Civil Engineers)


It was first published in February 2012, by the Royal Academy of Engineering on behalf of Engineering the Future.


To help those involved in nuclear construction projects to adopt behaviours conducive to successful project delivery.


This paper presents an overarching view of safety culture in the context of a new nuclear build programme, and gives eight recommendations that apply to all aspects of nuclear construction:

  • Recommendation 1 Nuclear projects should establish a single Leadership Charter.
  • Recommendation 2 The charter should set out clear arrangements for communication and monitoring as well as ensuring ‘sign on’ by all parties.
  • Recommendation 3 Role profiles should be established setting out the skills and knowledge required at different levels of supervision.
  • Recommendation 4 A systematic approach to training should be taken to provide confidence that all personnel are trained and competent.
  • Recommendation 5 An agreed industry-wide framework for industrial safety should be developed covering expectations, rules, rewards and consequences to ensure consistent, predictable first-class safety performance on all projects.
  • Recommendation 6 If design changes are absolutely necessary, a formal system must be used to evaluate and sanction deviations from the original design, with appropriate oversight, record keeping and communications arrangements.
  • Recommendation 7 Companies should learn from operational experience gained both within their own organisations and elsewhere.
  • Recommendation 8 For each project, a just and open reporting system should be put in place, its use publicised, reports investigated and the overall system monitored.

Nuclear Lessons Learned Series

This document is part of the series of four papers

  • Nuclear lessons learned report: Guidance for Best Practice
  • Nuclear Lessons Learned - Guidance for Best Practice: Concrete
  • Nuclear construction lessons learned - Guidance for best practice: Welding
  • Nuclear Construction Lessons Learned - Guidance for Best Practice: Nuclear Safety Culture

For more information and questions

Please contact [email protected]

EtF Nuclear Construction Lessons Learned Nuclear Safety Culture

Content type: Best practice

Last updated: 05/07/2022

Author: Charles Jensen

  • Charles Jensen, knowledge content producer at ICE