UK nuclear safety given all clear after Fukushima

The UK’s nuclear industry has been given the all clear in a final report on the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima disaster in Japan. But there are almost […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The UK’s nuclear industry has been given the all clear in a final report on the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima disaster in Japan. But there are almost 40 areas that the UK could learn from the nuclear crisis, suggests today’s report.

Concerns were raised globally about the safety of nuclear power following the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident in March earlier this year, prompting Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to ask the Chief Inspector for Nuclear to look at the UK’s industry. Dr Mike Weightman’s report finds 38 areas that the UK Government, industry and regulators can learn lessons from the nuclear crisis in Japan. The report reaffirms the findings of the interim report in May, stating that it sees “no reason for curtailing the operation of nuclear power plants or other nuclear facilities in the UK.

The report also notes that UK plants are different designs to those at Fukushima and states that environmental factors behind the crisis such as the tsunami “are far beyond the most extreme natural events that the UK would be expected to experience.”

Dr Weightman said: “I remain confident that our UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental safety weaknesses. The Office for Nuclear Regulation already requires protection of nuclear sites against the worst-case scenarios that are predictable for the UK. But we are not complacent. Our philosophy is one of continuous improvement. No matter how high our standards, the quest for improvement must never stop. We will ensure lessons are learned from Fukushima.”

He added that action has already been taken in many cases to enhance safety at UK sites. The Government has restated how nuclear is seen as a vital part of its future energy plans.