Chief nuclear inspector’s comments came on his return from a visit to Fukushima

The chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman has urged the UK nuclear industry to improve the design at plants and implement complex safety regimes.

Speaking on return to the UK from his visit to the stricken nuclear reactor at Fukushima, Japan, Weightman (pictured) insisted nuclear bosses should prioritise getting the basics right.    

“If there is a broad-minded approach to safety assessment, it can help greatly in the event of a severe accident,” he said. “Much of it is about getting the simple stuff right.”

Weightman is currently compiling his final report into the nuclear industry’s response to the disaster at Fukushima, and has already called in his interim report for the next generation of plants to have greater passive safety systems and more back-up power. The approval of the designs for the new fleet of plants under the Generic Design Assessment process has been put back until Weightman’s final report in September.

He was also complimentary about the Japanese response to the disaster, which he described as “incredible” in parts. “These plants survived the biggest ever recorded earthquake in Japan,” he added.

“During the fact finding mission to the country we learned a lot about seismic resiliency, off-site electricity and other external events. The efficiency of the Japanese response was incredible in some areas.”  

Last month Weightman published an interim report that identified 25 areas for review to improve safety measures in the industry further.