An abundance of information exists on safety culture related to the operational phases of nuclear power plants; however, pre-operational phases present unique challenges. This publication focuses on safety culture during pre-operational phases that span the interval from before a decision to launch a nuclear power programme to first fuel load. It provides safety culture insights and focuses on eight generic issues: safety culture understanding; multicultural aspects; leadership; competencies and resource competition; management systems; learning and feedback; cultural assessments; and communication. Each issue is discussed in terms of: specific challenges; desired state; approaches and methods; and examples and resources. This publication will be of interest to newcomers and experienced individuals faced with the opportunities and challenges inherent in safety culture programmes aimed at pre-operational activities.