Safety Culture in the Finnish and Swedish Nuclear Industries: History and Present

Teemu Reiman, Elina Pietikäinen, Ulf Kahlbom, Carl Rollenhagen

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    The report presents results from an interview study that examined the character-istics of the Nordic nuclear branch safety culture. The study also tested the theo-retical model of safety culture developed by the authors. The interview data was collected in Sweden (n = 14) and Finland (n = 16). Interviewees represented the major actors in the nuclear field (regulators, power companies, expert organiza-tions, waste management organizations). The study gave insight into the nature of safety culture in the nuclear industry. It provided an overview on the variety of factors that people in the industry consider important for safety. The respondents rather coherently saw such psychological states as motivation, mindfulness, sense of control, understanding of hazards and safety and sense of responsibility as important for nuclear safety. Some of the respondents described a certain Nordic orientation towards safety. One characteristic was a sense of personal responsibility for safety. However, there was no clear agreement on the existence of a shared Nordic nuclear safety culture. Sweden and Finland were seen different for example in the way the co-operation between plants and nuclear safety authorities was arranged and re-search activities organized. There were also perceived differences in the way everyday activities like decision making were carried out in the organizations. There are multiple explanations for the differences. The industry in Sweden has been driven by the strong supplier. In Finland the regulator's role in shaping the culture has been more active. Other factors creating differences are e.g. national culture and company culture and the type of the power plant. Co-operation be-tween Nordic nuclear power organizations was viewed valuable yet challenging from safety point of view. The report concludes that a good safety culture requires a deep and wide under-standing of nuclear safety including the various accident mechanisms of the power plants as well as a willingness to continuously develop one's competence and understanding. An effective and resilient nuclear safety culture has to foster a constant sense of unease that prevents complacency yet at the same time it has to foster a certain professional pride and a feeling of accomplishment to maintain work motivation and healthy occupational identity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationRoskilde
    PublisherNordic Nuclear Safety Research NKS
    Number of pages50
    ISBN (Print)978-87-7893-282-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesNKS Reports


    • safety culture
    • human and organizational factors
    • evaluation
    • safety management


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