Safety first for UK nuclear

The message today from the Office for Nuclear Regulation, a part of the Health and Safety Executive, was that safety was always at the forefront of any decisions made for […]

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By Tom Gibson

The message today from the Office for Nuclear Regulation, a part of the Health and Safety Executive, was that safety was always at the forefront of any decisions made for the UK nuclear industry.

Speaking today in a special press conference, Dr Mike Weightman delivered an interim report on the implications for the UK industry after the Japanese earthquake in March. He said: “The fundamental feature of our nuclear industry is the constant safety revision.”

The Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations did admit that he felt the UK had no reason to alter the current operations of nuclear power plants in the UK as the magnitude of an earthquake or tsunami suffered by Japan was not credible in the UK.

However, he insisted that the ‘principle of continuous improvement’ would always be adhered to at the Office for Nuclear Regulation and that he wasn’t afraid to step in to tell that to nuclear providers.

A member of the IAEA International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group, Dr Weightman told ELN: “We want the industry to take responsibility for this. We promote a continuous improvement culture- we are never satisfied.”

“This industry does not regulate itself. We have very strong enforcement powers, I can shut them down any time I want to.”