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Wed September 30 2020

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Carry on chaps! Nuclear programme gets the all-clear

12 Oct 11 Plans to build eight new nuclear power stations around the UK have been given the all clear by the government after its chief nuclear inspector gave the industry a clean bill of health.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne yesterday published the final report by HM chief inspector of nuclear installations Dr Mike Weightman into Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster when a reactor suffered meltdown in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March.

Dr Weightman’s 315-page report backs the findings of his preliminary report in May and expands upon it.

Energy secretary Chris Huhne told the House of Commons: “Dr. Weightman produced his interim report in May. It was evidence-based, and prepared in close co-operation with international regulators. It confirmed that the UK’s current safety regime is working, and that regulators and industry should continue to work together to make continuous improvements to nuclear safety.”

Mr Huhne said: “One of the [final] report’s key findings is that the additional information received since the interim report, including from his own visit to Fukushima and the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation’s own more detailed analysis, has reinforced the interim findings.

“As the initial report made clear, the current regulatory safety framework in the UK is satisfactory. Dr Weightman sees no reason to curtail the operation of power plants or other nuclear facilities in the UK. He believes the industry has reacted responsibly and appropriately, displaying strong leadership for safety and safety culture.

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“The final report re-states these interim conclusions and recommendations. It also concludes that the UK practice of periodic safety reviews of licensed sites provides a robust means of ensuring continuous improvement in line with advances in technology and standards.

“The final report also emphasises the need to continue the Sellafield legacy pond and silo cleanup with the utmost vigour and determination.

“The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is making tangible, demonstrable progress in addressing these national priorities. It is the NDA’s top priority, and we have ensured that their work in this area is not limited by funding constraints. Reduction of risk and hazard sits at the very heart of the NDA’s mission.

“Dr. Weightman and his team are satisfied with the responses and actions initiated by government and industry in response to the interim report.”

The full report is online at http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/fukushima/final-report.pdf

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