Plain English regulatory control

Explaining the rationale for decisions relating to safety and security at nuclear sites enters a new phase with the publication of summary reports.

HSE Nuclear Directorate (ND), the UK’s nuclear regulator, is now making available, via its website, the executive summaries of Project Assessment Reports (PARs).

The documents describe, in largely non-technical and ‘Plain English’ language, many ways in which ND brings about regulatory control at nuclear sites in the UK.

Publication of such reports is a significant move by ND and is part of the regulator’s commitment to being more open and transparent in its work.

Mike Finnerty, a Principal Inspector at the Nuclear Directorate, who is leading on this project, explained this is a first step towards putting more information into the public domain. “The aspiration is to publish more of our work and make our guidance clearer,” said Mike. “An international peer review of our work in 2009, by the IAEA’s Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS), and a report by Government advisor Dr Tim Stone in 2008, both identified that we need to be more open and transparent in our work and we are fully committed to progressing this policy.”

Under the new system, executive summaries to PARs appear on ND’s website . The summaries provide background to, and the rationale for, the issuing of Licence Instruments, which the Nuclear Directorate issues as part of its ‘regulatory toolbox’ to control activities on nuclear sites.

Executive summaries already published include matters relating to Capenhurst (Sellafield Ltd), Capenhurst (Urenco UK Ltd), Devonport Royal Dockyard, Dounreay, Dungeness B, Harwell, Hinkley Point A, Hunterston A, Hunterston B, Sellafield, Windscale and Calder Hall (Sellafield Ltd), Sizewell B, Winfrith and Wylfa.

“We have also, for some years now, published quarterly reports which essentially give details on our activities at sites where we have regulatory responsibilities,” said Mike. “So there is now good opportunity for people to read about what we are doing at specific sites and have more information on the decision-making process.

“Our aim is for the engagement we have with all of our stakeholders to be effective.  We would therefore welcome feedback on the executive summaries and the quarterly reports. If you have any views or suggestions, please email ndenquiries@hse.gsi.gov.uk

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