The UK nuclear regulator was yesterday officially established as a public corporation.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said the change is a “significant milestone” and puts it in a stronger position to provide “efficient and effective regulation” of the nuclear industry.
As well as monitoring existing nuclear power plants and assessing the safety, security and environment implication of new nuclear designs, the organisation now also has the responsibility for the transport and safeguarding of nuclear and radioactive materials – previously the role of the Department for Transport.
The ONR said it will retain the independent powers to regulate the nuclear industry but there will be a “more consistent and predictable approach to regulation” while providing it with a “stronger identity, which will help increase public awareness of its role and responsibilities”.
Chief Executive Officer John Jenkins said he is “delighted” with the transformation. He added: “It will make us stronger and ready to face a future where the nuclear industry is a key part of the UK’s energy mix… Our change in status will provide us with the financial and operational flexibility we need to react quickly to changes in the nuclear industry and attract and retain a nuclear-skilled workforce.”
ONR independently regulates nuclear safety and security at 37 licensed nuclear sites in the UK.