Mike Weightman, chief nuclear inspector and head (director) of the Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate, the UK’s independent nuclear safety and security regulator, gives his response on events in Japan.
“Since Friday, the Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate has been monitoring events in Japan closely. We have provided specialist technical advice to the UK Government and ensured there are no immediate implications for the safety of the UK nuclear facilities. This is a difficult time for Japan and we are ready to provide support as necessary. We must establish the facts, which are emerging and not yet fully known. The nuclear regulatory standards in the UK ensure our nuclear power reactors are robust against all the external hazards that may be reasonably foreseen in the UK and I agree with advice that seismic and tsunami events of such extreme magnitude as seen in Japan are not foreseeable for the UK. However, it is important that we consider the implications and learn any lessons to ensure we continue to secure the protection of people and society.
“Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has asked me to provide a report on the implications of the unprecedented events in Japan and the lessons to be learned for the UK nuclear industry. There will be an interim report by mid May 2011 and a final report within six months. The reports will be put in the public domain and will be comprehensive, wide in scope and based on the best technical advice, consulting nationally and internationally with colleagues and organisations who, like us, have the safety and security of people and society uppermost in our minds.”