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Huhne welcomes interim report from chief nuclear inspector

Energy and Climate Change Secretary The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP today presented to Parliament the findings of the Chief Nuclear Inspector&rsquo…

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Energy and Climate Change Secretary The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP today presented to Parliament the findings of the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report into the events at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in March this year.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP asked for an interim report to consider any immediate lessons that could be applied to the UK nuclear industry. Dr Weightman will provide a final report in September this year.

In his interim report, Dr Weightman has found that the UK has displayed a strong safety culture in its response to Fukushima and current safety measures are adequate. Dr Weightman also said that is not necessary to make immediate safety improvements to operating nuclear reactors in the UK.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP said:

“Safety is and will continue to be the number one priority. I am pleased that today’s report confirms that the UK’s current safety arrangements are working. I want regulators and the industry to work together, so that we continue to improve our safety regime.

“The Chief Nuclear Inspector has made clear the differences between Japan and the UK. We do not use the same reactor types, and do not plan to in future. We also do not expect to experience the extreme natural events seen in Japan.

“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 Energy Secretary added that subject to careful consideration of Dr Weightman’s interim report, the Government will bring forward the Energy National Policy Statements for ratification as soon as possible. The NPSs provide a framework for decisions on planning applications for major energy infrastructure projects.

Notes for editors

  1. Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Mike Weightman was asked by the Secretary of State for Energy to report on the lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster in March 2010 - read the associated press notice.
  2. Dr Weightman’s interim report is available to read in full on the Health and Safety Executive’s: Health and safety in the nuclear industry web page. His final report is due in September 2011.
  3. The Secretary of State’s full written statement to Parliament is available on the DECC website.
Published 18 May 2011