Weightman report clears the way for nuclear new build program

There is no need to curtail the operations of nuclear plants in the UK according to an interim assessment of the implications of the nuclear crisis in Japan. In March several explosions occurred at the Fukushima nuclear plant following a large tsunami. 

Chief Nuclear Inspector Mike Weightman published the report which also identified 25 areas recommended for review to further improve safety measures in the industry.

Some of the key areas recommended for review include the layout of UK power plants, emergency response arrangements, dealing with prolonged loss of power supplies and the risks associated with flooding.

A 26th recommendation calls for a plan to be published in June outlining how each of the 25 matters will be addressed.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said the interim report also provided a good case for the industry to proceed with the nuclear new build programme.

Mr Huhne said: “Dr Weightman’s interim report is authoritative and detailed and I thank him for his work.

“It provides us with the basis to continue to remove the barriers to nuclear new build in the UK.”

In the report Dr Weightman said the catastrophic events in Japan were not comparable in the context of the UK nuclear industry.

“The extreme natural events that preceded the accident at Fukushima - the magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent huge tsunami - are not credible in the UK,” said Weightman.

“We are 1,000 miles from the nearest fault line and we have safeguards in place that protect against even very remote hazards.”

The interim report published today was requested by the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne however a more comprehensive report will be published in September.

Alasdair Reisner, director of external affairs with CECA, welcomed the findings of the report.

“Today’s report is a real vote of confidence in the abilities of the UK nuclear industry to produce power that is safe and secure both at present, and into the future,” he said.

“We fully support the intentions behind Dr Weightman’s investigation. It is absolutely crucial that public faith in the nuclear industry is supported and concerns are answered.”