Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Statement from HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations on the implications of the Fukushima nuclear accident

29 March 2011

On 12 March 2011, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, requested Mike Weightman, HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, to produce a report on the implications for the UK nuclear industry of the accident that took place at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan. The purpose of the report is to identify any lessons to be learnt, taking forward this work in co-operation and co-ordination with national stakeholders and international colleagues. The Secretary of State asked for an interim report by the middle of May 2011, with a final report in September.

The Secretary of States request has made clear that Mike Weightman has full independence to determine the scope of the report and the arrangements for conducting it. The Chief Inspector has since indicated that the reports would be:

The reports will not address nuclear or energy policy issues as these are outside the role and responsibilities of the nuclear regulator.

It is not possible to define the final scope of the report at this stage. The events in Japan are not yet clear and relevant issues may emerge over the coming days or weeks that Mike Weightman would need to take into account in the final report. It is also possible that, once defined, the scope of the full report will need to be refined as further information becomes available. However, we can confirm that the scope for the final report will include the following broad areas:

General

Events in Japan

Lessons for the UK

Given the timing, and the fact that there is likely to be only limited information available, the scope for the interim report will necessarily be less comprehensive than the final report. It will focus on any immediate lessons to be learnt for existing nuclear power stations in the UK and for any prospective nuclear power stations, based on the information available up to the middle of April.

Mike Weightman is setting up an independent expert technical advisory panel to assist in the report. He would also like to receive submissions from all those with technical information about the accident or thoughts about any lessons from it that can be learnt to enhance nuclear safety in the UK. We will send out further information on this in the coming days.