Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Hinkley Point C concerns remain despite reduced workforce

Date released
20 April 2020
Request number
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

 I am writing to request that you provide this information as soon as practicable, and in particular the following:

Information released

I confirm that under Section 1 of the FOIA, we hold the information related to your request.

Some information has been withheld because it contains personal data. The personal data has been withheld using the exemption section 40(2) of the FOIA. In particular, release of the information would breach principle (a) of GDPR (lawfulness, fairness and transparency) on the grounds that there is no lawful basis to process this data. In addition, releasing this personal data would also breach principle (b) of GDPR (purpose limitation) as the data was provided incidentally over the course of email exchanges.

In addition, some information has been withheld as it is not pertinent to the scope of the request.

In relation to the first part of your request, I attach a copy of letters issued by Mark Foy to licensees across the civil nuclear estate and the defence nuclear estate on 13 March 2020. In those letters, Mark requested assurances and evidence as to the industry’s continued ability to maintain safe and nuclear operations.

In relation to the second part of your request, I attach two items of email correspondence between Mark Foy and NNL-EDF relating to the implementation of social distancing measures at Hinkley Point C.

In relation to the third part of your request, we have provided the following information.

You will be aware of the statement published on ONR’s website which describes how ONR is supporting national efforts to ensure that social distancing and shielding measures are being properly observed at licensed nuclear sites, including Hinkley Point C. The UK’s nuclear industry is mature and responsible, with an excellent nuclear safety record. We expect it to continue to make responsible and conservative decisions as it responds to the challenges of the pandemic. We are applying our regulatory influence, based on long-established health and safety legislation, to ensure that licensed sites protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work, in line with guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

Given that the UK Government has designated the Hinkley Point C project as having critical national importance, the government’s current position is that construction should continue subject to businesses implementing reasonably practicable measures to reduce the transmission of Coronavirus. The requirements for social distancing and other such provisions to reduce the likelihood of transmission of Coronavirus are contained in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and the legal responsibility for enforcing these lies with the relevant local authority and/or the police; ONR is not empowered to enforce these specific regulations.

We are satisfied that NNB GenCo (HPC) Ltd is taking responsible measures aimed at reducing the risk of spread of Coronavirus including the following measures to aid social distancing, exemplified by the following:

ONR’s regulatory position on COVID-19 will be kept under review and may evolve as the situation develops. We continue to engage with the sites we regulate on a daily basis to monitor the situation, and if shortfalls were identified, we would require the site to address such matters and, if appropriate, would take proportionate regulatory action to secure the required improvements.

Exemptions applied

Section 1 and 40(2)

PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable