UK Nuclear Power Stations Pass ‘Stress Test’

Safety reassessments undertaken at UK nuclear power stations in the light of events at Fukushima Dai-ichi have revealed no fundamental weaknesses. A report just published by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the UK’s independent nuclear safety regulator, confirms that UK sites have identified and made improvements to enhance safety by learning from events in Japan.

The findings are contained in the UK national ‘stress test’ report submitted to the European Council. It requested a targeted reassessment of safety at all European nuclear power plants based on the circumstances which occurred at Fukushima: extreme natural events challenging the plant safety functions and leading to a severe accident.

Licensees of the 33 operating or shutdown reactors in the UK within scope of the report have carried out the tests and the Office for Nuclear Regulation has reviewed the results. The UK has 18 operating nuclear reactors and 15 ‘shutdown’ reactors which fall within the scope of the European stress tests.

John Donald, a senior nuclear safety inspector at the Office for Nuclear Regulation, comments: “Fukushima provided the world a unique opportunity to learn from a serious nuclear accident. No matter how high our standards of safety, the quest for improvement must never stop. Work is already under way to improve safety at UK sites, such as bolstering flood defences and enhancing coolant supplies. We have also asked licensees of UK nuclear power stations to consider resilience against events that have only remote chances of happening in the UK.”

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