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Chief nuclear inspector outlines plans for Fukushima report

Chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman will not be addressing nuclear or energy policy issues in his report into the tsunami hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

Energy secretary of state Chris Huhne asked Mike Weightman to produce a report on the implications for the UK nuclear industry of the accident that took place at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it is not possible to define the final scope of the report at this stage, however did say it would cover the following broad areas:

  • General background on nuclear power technology and the approach to nuclear safety and security regulation in the UK, internationally and in Japan.
  • A high-level description of the nuclear power station at Fukushima;
  • Design provisions for resilience against natural hazards;
  • The events at site, including timeline and impact and actions taken to protect people;
  • Key on-site factors, including operator actions, contributing to the events; and
  • Key off-site factors, including emergency response provisions, affecting the control and mitigation of events
  • A comparison of UK nuclear power station designs with those at Fukushima;
  • Natural hazards and other potential threats to UK nuclear facilities;
  • Potential lessons for the UK; and
  • Any recommendations regarding the lessons learnt.

Given the timing, and the fact that there is likely to be only limited information available, the scope for the interim report will necessarily be less comprehensive than the final report.  It will focus on any immediate lessons to be learnt for existing nuclear power stations in the UK and for any prospective nuclear power stations, based on the information available up to the middle of April. 

Mike Weightman is setting up an independent expert technical advisory panel to assist in the report.  He would also like to receive submissions from all those with technical information about the accident or thoughts about any lessons from it that can be learnt to enhance nuclear safety in the UK. We will send out further information on this in the coming days.

The Secretary of State asked for an interim report by the middle of May 2011, with a final report in September.


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