Following the unprecedented events in Japan in April 2011, we carefully considered how we should take forward our Generic Design Assessment and other new nuclear build work, discussing potential implications with industry.
Chris Huhne (then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change), asked Mike Weightman (HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations), to provide reports to the Government on the implications and any lessons to be learned for the UK. Dr Weightman completed his interim report in May 2011 and his final report came out in September 2011. As well as considering any implications for the UK's existing nuclear sites, the report also informed the UK regulators' assessments for the new nuclear build programme. Both industry and the regulators needed to take account of Mike Weightman's recommendations.
We then introduced an additional GDA issue for both the UK EPR and AP1000 reactor designs to take account of the lessons from Fukushima, and extended our assessment work to allow us to take account of the recommendations in the chief inspector's reports.
Safety and protection of people and the environment will always be our top priority and it is important that we take the necessary time needed to ensure that we learn any relevant lessons emerging from the events in Japan, and implement any improvements that might be required to the new reactor designs.