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Nuclear firms given 12 month deadline for post-Fukushima recommendations

Chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman has given firms working in the nuclear sector one year to implement the 38 recommendations made in his report into the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Existing and new nuclear firms will have the next 12 months to establish how they will respond to the recommendations detailed in the Weightman’s report Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami: Implications for the UK Nuclear Industry.

New build nuclear firms will have to consider the new recommendations in addition to the ongoing Generic Design Assessment (GDA) — a four step licensing process considering all aspects of new nuclear reactor design excluding site specifics, which is due to complete at the end of this year.

It is unclear whether these additional requirements will delay the new nuclear build programme.

Weightman report

The Weightman report’s main points were:

  1. There is no reason to curtail the operation of UK operating sites, although operators should continue to follow the founding principle of continuous improvement
  2. There are no fundamental weaknesses in the UK nuclear licensing regime or the Safety assessment principles that underpin it, and the intention to create the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in statute will further enhance confidence in the UK’s regulatory regime
  3. There is no reason to revise the strategic advice given by the regulators on which the Nuclear National Policy Statement was based, or any need to change present siting strategies for new nuclear power stations in the UK
  4. 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;
  5. The events at Fukushima reinforce the need to continue to pursue decommissioning of former nuclear sites with utmost vigour and determination
  6. The regulator is satisfied with the responses and plans initiated by Government and nuclear industry in response to the interim report

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