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ONR ‘has a positive impact on public safety’, new survey finds

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) ‘has a positive impact on public safety’ and ‘influences improvements in nuclear safety and security culture within the industry’, an independent survey has found.

ONR has today published the findings from its Stakeholder Survey 2022 with results showing that stakeholders remain confident (93%) that ONR is fulfilling its mission to ‘protect society by securing safe nuclear operations.’

The survey concluded that the UK’s regulator has a positive impact on public safety, and influences improvements in nuclear safety and security culture among licensees and dutyholders.

The survey is conducted annually and provides stakeholders with the opportunity to share their views about ONR. Diverse feedback is essential in helping us shape ONR's regulation and organisation.

In relation to performance, professional (93%), independent (88%) and trusted (86%) are the three attributes that stakeholders most commonly associate with ONR, data showed.

More than three quarters (78%) of stakeholders reported that they felt ONR listened to them and more than 70% felt ONR proactively sought their feedback.

More than 80% also reported that the advice, information and guidance provided by ONR was clear, accessible and consistent.

ONR is pleased to see such positive results across all aspects of the survey, particularly in areas which are critical to the success of any regulator.

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also pleasing to see stakeholder confidence in ONR’s regulatory approach during the last 12 months has remained high.

Figures reveal that 81% of stakeholders feel ONR has provided effective regulation of the industry during the pandemic, up from 72% in 2021.

Results also showed that ONR is ‘working collaboratively’ and is ‘adaptable and responsive to its environment and the needs of others.’

One stakeholder, in responding to the survey, said: “[ONR is] very professional.

“I think that the interface with the regulators is excellent. I think through the site stakeholder groups, the regulators that attend the regular meetings provide reassurance and are able to answer any questions raised by the members of the public and I think that's absolutely vital.”

While the results were significantly positive, the survey did identify some areas that will require continued attention and focus - agility in responding to external changes, responsiveness to change and enabling innovation - three areas that ONR already has a sharp focus on to enhance how it works.

For the first time, the survey asked respondents to set out their top three priorities for ONR.

According to the feedback, management of ageing facilities across the nuclear estate, making improvements in safety and security leadership across industry and enabling innovation were the most important.

The former two are already priorities identified in the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s annual report – the latest edition of which will be published in October.

For the latter, activities are already underway in line with ONR’s approach to regulating innovation.

Katie Day, ONR Director of Policy and Communications, said: “These are a strong set of results that show stakeholder confidence in ONR remains strong across many different areas.

“We are not complacent though and recognise that maintaining areas of strength goes hand in hand with our commitment to address those areas where we want to do better – the areas we prioritised in our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy 2020-25.

“Stakeholder insight and views - both positive and negative - are invaluable to us because we rely on the continued support and commitment of all those we work and engage with to achieve our strategic aims and objectives.

“If you took part in the survey, please accept our thanks for taking the time to share your views with us.”

This year’s survey was conducted by Savanta ComRes, who are a specialist independent research company.

The survey drew 365 responses which is the highest number received since ONR began conducting an annual survey in 2017.

Responses were received from a range of different stakeholders including nuclear site operators, government, international regulators/organisations, public bodies/agencies, NGOs, transport and safeguards dutyholders and academic institutions.

In addition to the online survey, 16 in-depth interviews were conducted with a cross section of stakeholders to gather qualitative data to help support the research findings.

If you have any comments or feedback you’d like to share with ONR, you can email us at