Nuclear ‘stress test’ gives UK good safety report

The UK’s nuclear power stations have no fundamental weaknesses, according to the latest safety ‘stress test’ by regulators. A report published today by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The UK’s nuclear power stations have no fundamental weaknesses, according to the latest safety ‘stress test’ by regulators.

A report published today by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the UK’s independent nuclear safety regulator, finds UK sites have identified and made improvements to boost safety.

Stress tests in countries around the world were prompted by events in Japan where the nuclear disaster shook up the global nuclear industry.

The ONR submitted its ‘stress test’ report to the European Council. Their assessment stuck to EU criteria which includef checking the response plans of power plants when facing a set of extreme conditions such as flooding.

John Donald, a senior nuclear safety inspector at the ONR said: “To date, no fundamental weaknesses in design and resilience have been identified at UK nuclear power plants and lessons are being learnt from Fukushima to enhance safety.”

He added: “Fukushima provided the world a unique opportunity to learn from a serious nuclear accident. Work is already under way to improve safety at UK sites, such as bolstering flood defences and enhancing coolant supplies. We have also asked licensees of UK nuclear power stations to consider resilience against events that have only remote chances of happening in the UK.”

The UK has 18 operating nuclear reactors and 15 ‘shutdown’ reactors which fall within the scope of the European stress tests.