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Nuclear legacy sites given all clear following stress tests

Safety reassessments of the UK’s non-power generating nuclear sites were revealed to have “no serious weakness”, according to an official report out today.

The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) had called for stress tests following last’s year’s accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The report focused on similar circumstances to those at Fukushima — extreme natural events challenging the plant safety functions.

The report confirms that UK sites have identified and made improvements to enhance safety by learning from events in Japan.

ONR’s report concluded that while “no serious safety weaknesses have emerged” at the legacy sites such as Dounreay in Scotland and Sellafield in Cumbria, “more work needs to be done to make sites more resilient”.

The report, “Stress Tests” for UK non-Power Generating Nuclear Facilities, produced 75 findings covering issues such as accident management and back-up systems which the operators must address. The report can be accessed here.

Credit rating downgrade threat blamed for Horizon pull out

Energy firm RWE chief executive Volker Beckers blamed the threat of being downgraded by credit agency Moody as part of the reason for his firm pulling out of nuclear new build venture Horizon.

Speaking at yesterday’s Energy and Climate Change Committee Beckers said he was concerned about RWE being downgraded resulting in capital becoming more expensive.

To maintain RWE’s single A-rating the firm had to put measures in place, including reducing its capital programme by €7bn (£5.6bn) resulting in the decision to put Horizon up for sale, Beckers told the committee.

German energy giants RWE and Eon decided to put its Horizon nuclear venture up for sale last month.

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