In October 2008, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a meeting of the world’s major civilian nuclear power plant vendors and a group of world-class nuclear experts (see below) with the goal of developing a common understanding of the parameters that should guide the exporters of nuclear power plants. What resulted is a voluntary industry code of conduct that complements and often exceeds national laws and regulations, thus raising the bar globally on the standards of responsible nuclear conduct. The endeavor was inspired by the conviction that nuclear power could have an important role to play in meeting the future energy requirements of many countries, provided it is handled responsibly, and that nuclear power plant exporters share a common interest to that effect.

Over three years and seven rounds of discussion (in Brussels, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., Paris, Toronto, Seoul, and once again in Brussels), representatives from eleven companies worked alongside industry experts to craft consensus on the text of each of the six Principles.

Development of the Principles of Conduct had concluded by the fall of 2010, and a public announcement was planned for the early spring of 2011. But the public announcement was delayed in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami affecting Japan. The participating vendors used the intervening period to reflect on the initial lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident and incorporate these, as well as new safety norms that have come into existence over the past year, into the Principles of Conduct text. The participating vendors will continue to review the Principles periodically to incorporate new insights from the Fukushima nuclear accident, as well as any other best practices and updated norms that are developed in the coming months and years.

The companies involved in the drafting of the Principles of Conduct were:

  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited1
  • Atomstroyexport
  • China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)
  • Doosan Heavy Industries2
  • GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy
  • Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy
  • Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO)
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Toshiba
  • Westinghouse Electric Company

The diversity of experience, language and culture represented in this group made the undertaking both exceptionally worthwhile and challenging. All participants learned a great deal from the exchanges. The initiative’s experts and senior executives from the companies dedicated a significant amount of time and attention to the endeavor. All found it necessary to adjust preferred approaches and language in search of consensus. The resulting Principles reflect this unprecedented process of mutual learning and compromise, as well as an understanding that the Principles may be updated in the future as experience warrants.

The participation of the industry’s leading companies highlighted the importance of ensuring that competition laws and regulations were respected. Special guidelines were developed and implemented to ensure that discussions centered on subjects relating to the broad public interest and did not involve commercially sensitive information. Legal counsel participated in all exchanges between the vendors to ensure compliance with competition laws.

All of the current exporters of nuclear power plants participated actively and intensively in the drafting of the Principles.

The following companies have adopted the Principles of Conduct:

  • ATMEA (an AREVA-Mitsubishi joint venture)
  • Atomstroyexpoxrt
  • Candu Energy (the successor company to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.)
  • GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
  • Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy
  • Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO)
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (including Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems, a subsidiary)
  • Toshiba
  • Westinghouse Electric Company

Adoption of the Principles of Conduct is open to other vendor companies; through a review process there is a means for new entrants into the export market to adopt the Principles.

The experts that have volunteered their service to Carnegie Endowment to support the development of the Principles of Conduct and subsequently its review process include:

  • Omer F. Brown, II, Attorney-at-Law, Omer F. Brown, II Law Office;
  • Jacques Bouchard, Adviser to the Chairman, CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique); former Chairman, Generation IV International Forum; Chairman, IAEA Standing Advisory Group for Nuclear Energy (SAGNE);
  • KunMo Chung, former Minister of Science and Technology, South-Korea; co-founder of the International Risk Governance Council; fellow of the American Nuclear Society and the Korean Academy of Science and Technology; distinguished research Professor, George Mason University and Ajou University;
  • Pierre Goldschmidt, Nonresident Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment; former Deputy Director General-Safeguards, IAEA;
  • Jukka Laaksonen (until January 2012), Director General, STUK (Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority); Chairman, Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA); Vice Chairman, IAEA International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG);
  • André-Claude Lacoste, former Chairman of the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire; former Chairman, Multinational Design Evaluation Program Policy Group, OECD/NEA; Chairman of the Commission on Safety Standards, IAEA; President of the 6th Review Meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety;
  • Richard Meserve, President, Carnegie Institution of Science; former Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Commissioner, Energy Department’s Blue Ribbon Committee on America’s Nuclear Future; Chairman, IAEA INSAG;
  • Nathalie Horbach, Independent Nuclear Law Consultant, Dundee University;
  • Irving Rotter, Partner, Sidley Austin, LLP;
  • Frank Saunders, Vice President-Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs, Bruce Power; and
  • Gare Smith, Partner, Foley Hoag LLP.

In addition, the law firms of Sidley Austin LLP and Foley Hoag LLP, as well as Bruce Power, have all made generous contributions of their expertise and services in support of the process, with the law firm of Foley Hoag LLP serving as antitrust/competition law counsel to the process and attending all meetings of the vendors.

The project was funded by the Carnegie Endowment’s own resources as well as generous support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Each vendor company paid for its own expenses incurred in the course of participation in the process.

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