EDF: Dungeness nuclear site was “safe at all times” during flood defence work

Power supplier EDF Energy has rebuffed claims one of its nuclear plants may have been “unsafe” while it was updating its flood defences while reactors were switched off last May. […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Power supplier EDF Energy has rebuffed claims one of its nuclear plants may have been “unsafe” while it was updating its flood defences while reactors were switched off last May.

For two months in 2013, the firm shut down the nuclear reactors at Dungeness B, located on Romney Marsh in Kent on the south east coast of England.

Following Japan’s disaster at Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011 – a triple reactor blowout after the deadly tsunami – the energy firm reviewed its site safety.

It told the nuclear regulator ONR that more work was necessary to meet higher safety standards and began a new flood defence wall around the site which is due to be finished this month.

EDF said it is “not true” to suggest that there was an attempt not to communicate events at the site.

In a statement the company said the upgrading of flood defences “does not mean the site was unsafe at any time”.

Dungeness B station director Martin Pearson said: “We are never complacent and constantly look for ways to improve safety at Dungeness B.

“Safety always overrides any commercial considerations and we only operate with the approval of the independent nuclear regulator. We decided to raise standards even further following Fukushima but that does not mean there was a greater risk to the power station.”