Nuclear future still "on track" after Japan

The future of UK nuclear power will be reinforced by authorities’ new safety assessments, believes EDF Energy boss Vincent de Rivaz. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The future of UK nuclear power will be reinforced by authorities’ new safety assessments, believes EDF Energy boss Vincent de Rivaz.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency’s recent statement about the regulation of new power stations said: “Following the unprecedented events in Japan we have been carefully considering how we will take forward our Generic Design Assessment (GDA) and other new nuclear build work and discussing potential implications with industry.”

The joint regulators will use reports by HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations Mike Weightman on the implications of the recent disaster in Japan to assess new nuclear build in the UK.

The HSE will only grant permission to the designs of new nuclear reactors, for example with an interim Design Acceptance Confirmation and interim Statements of Design Acceptability, when safety requirements have been met.

Mr de Rivaz, Chief Executive of EDF Energy welcomed this approach to the GDA. He said: “This is a sensible step which means the train remains on track taking account all of the work done so far. To learn lessons from Japan, there will be additional check points on the way, quite rightly, but the destination is unchanged and the progress continues.”

The HSE and EA had previously planned to finalise their assessments in June 2011, but will now wait for Dr Mike Weightman’s reports, an interim one due in May and his final report in September.

They will still publish the GDA Issues they have already identified in the summer.