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UK chief nuclear inspector's response to European Commission stress test report

In response to the European Commission's communication today on 'stress tests' undertaken at European nuclear power plants (including 15 sites and 33 reactors in the UK), chief inspector of UK nuclear installations, Dr Mike Weightman, said:

"The stress test process was a valuable exercise, reinforcing the conclusions we had reached here in the UK with our separate, thorough and transparent studies on the safety of nuclear sites, undertaken soon after the events at Fukushima Dai-ichi last year.

“Our interim and final report on the implications for the UK of events in Japan identified improvements that could and now are being made to enhance safety at UK nuclear power plants. We did not find any fundamental weaknesses or technical reason for the Office for Nuclear Regulation to curtail their operation. I will shortly be publishing an implementation report outlining progress against the recommendations made.

"The European Commission's communication does not reflect the evidence-based findings of the stress tests process, the conclusions of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group or those of other independent, expert national nuclear regulators.

“The events at Fukushima Dai-ichi re-emphasise the importance of effective separation between the functions of the regulatory body and those of any other body or organisation concerned with the promotion or utilisation of nuclear energy. This is recognised in both the international Convention on Nuclear Safety and the subsequent European Nuclear Safety Directive. Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the Japanese parliament has taken steps to reinforce this requirement through the establishment of a new independent Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan.”

See our Fukushima and the UK nuclear industry webpages for more information on all reports delivered by the Office for Nuclear Regulation relating to the March 2011 accident.