According to an interim report on the effects of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster there is no need for the UK to halt its plans for new nuclear power plants. There are, however, a number of recommendations on how safety in the nuclear industry can be improved. The report, which was produced by Dr Mike Weightman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations and executive head of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, at the request of the Government, focuses on lessons for the nuclear industry. Published on 18 May 2011, it highlights the very particular circumstances under which the tsumani affected safety issues at Fukushima Daiichi, as opposed to nuclear sites in the UK. However, plant layout and flood protection may need consideration in flood risk site areas.
The report also highlighted the need for reviews of emergency response arrangements, the impact of natural hazards and how sites deal with prolonged loss of off-site power supplies. In response to the interim report Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, 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. We want to see new nuclear as part of a low carbon energy mix going forward, provided there is no public subsidy. The Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report reassures me that it can.” The final report is due in September 2011.