An analysis of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident by the UK’s official nuclear regulator reveals no fundamental safety weaknesses in the UK’s nuclear industry but concludes that by learning lessons it can be made even safer. The report, which finds no reason to curtail the UK’s new build programme, will be seen as good news for the underground construction industry as a raft of large diameter tunnels will be required for the construction of the next wave of Britain’s Nuclear facilities.
In the report, Mike Weightman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations and Executive Head of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, points to Government, industry and regulators to review 38 areas where he concludes lessons can be learned in the UK from the nuclear crisis in Japan. These include: reliance on off-site infrastructure such as the electrical grid supply in extreme events, emergency response arrangements, layout of plant, risks associated with flooding, planning controls around nuclear facilities and prioritising safety reviews.
Mike Weightman said: “I remain confident that our UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental safety weaknesses. The Office for Nuclear Regulation already requires protection of nuclear sites against the worst-case scenarios that are predictable for the UK. But we are not complacent. Our philosophy is one of continuous improvement. No matter how high our standards, the quest for improvement must never stop. We will ensure lessons are learned from Fukushima. Action has already been taken in many cases, with work under way to further enhance safety at UK sites.
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“While it is only six months since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, I am satisfied we are in a position to have drawn reliable conclusions and identified the main lessons to improve safety. Detailed technical information will no doubt continue to emerge and the Office for Nuclear Regulation will continue to monitor it and take action as necessary.
The report published today was requested by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, within days of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 11 March that led to the crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. A report will be published next year on progress in implementing the lessons for the UK.
To download the report visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/fukushima/final-report.htm