‘UK needs advisors for nuclear accidents’ say MPs

The UK Government must ensure there are enough experts to advise on chemical and nuclear emergencies. That’s according to a report published by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The UK Government must ensure there are enough experts to advise on chemical and nuclear emergencies.

That’s according to a report published by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, following suggestions many of the UK scientific advisors involved in providing help during Japan’s Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011 have since retired.

The report explores the mechanisms for drawing on scientific advice to plan for, mitigate risks and respond to a range of possible disasters, including nuclear meltdowns, industrial fires and major toxic spills.

It found a “confusing landscape of organisations and acronyms which has been difficult to navigate” and said this network urgently needs to be simplified.

The Committee also investigated how the communication of scientific knowledge could be improved during an emergency and have called for a dedicated independent scientific press officer to be appointed to all future emergency advice groups.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said: “Getting accurate science to the public during a chemical or nuclear incident is absolutely crucial.

“There are lots of scientists in government agencies that could help and they need to be given permission to speak to the media.”

Concrete has been poured for the first permanent structures at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.