Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz welcomes independent nuclear inspector’s conclusions on safety of UK plants.
EDF Energy, and its partner Centrica, welcomed the interim report from Dr Mike Weightman into the implications of events at Fukushima, and pledged to implement all its recommendations.
Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz praised the high quality of Dr Weightman’s work. He said the report would provide valuable input into the process of continuous improvement and enhance the strong safety performance of EDF Energy’s nuclear plants.
EDF Energy, welcomed the interim conclusions that the UK nuclear power industry has reacted “responsibly and appropriately” to events in Japan, “displaying a leadership for safety and a strong safety culture”. The report also found that analysis of Fukushima revealed no reason for curtailing the operation of existing plants, nor any significant gaps in the scope or depth of the safety assessment principles for nuclear facilities in the UK.
Mr de Rivaz also welcomed the Secretary of State Chris Huhne MP’s assessment that the report reassured the Government new nuclear can be part of the future energy mix and provides ‘the basis to continue to remove the barriers to nuclear new build in the UK’.
EDF Energy also noted Dr Weightman’s recognition that the UK nuclear industry is developing a more open approach under its present leadership, and committed to take on board the report’s recommendation to develop this further.
Mr de Rivaz said: “As Dr Weightman promised, the report is transparent, comprehensive in scope and evidence based. While these are interim findings only, they provide a clear endorsement of the safety culture and performance of the UK nuclear industry.
“We are not complacent. We will do whatever is required and we will implement all the recommendations that Dr Weightman has made. This is a valuable report with rigorous and sensible recommendations.
“Within days of the tsunami we undertook our own internal review of the implications of Fukushima. We took immediate actions to check our back up systems, organise refresher training for employees and review of our Emergency Plan. We also began our longer term planning and put in place formal arrangements to ensure that any learnings from Japan are fed into our safety processes. As a result, we are in a position to begin implementing Dr Weightman’s recommendations today.
“Along with many others, we submitted our views regarding the scope of the report..
“Continuous improvement is part of the safety culture of EDF Energy. We invest on average over £300 million each year in our plants to ensure they remain at the forefront of nuclear safety. This same principle means that lessons from Japan will further enhance safety.”
Mr de Rivaz also welcomed Dr Weightman’s work on the implications for new nuclear build.
He said: “We will of course take on board Dr Weightman’s recommendations for nuclear new build. We welcome the key conclusions that there is no need to change the present siting strategies and that there is no reason to depart from plans for more than one reactor on a site.
“We welcome the assessment by the Secretary of State that the report reassures the Government that new nuclear can be part of the future energy mix and provides ‘the basis to continue to remove the barriers to nuclear new build in the UK’.
“We are continuing with our plans to develop four new nuclear power stations in the UK, with our partner Centrica, and our plans will be better thanks to Dr Weightman’s work.
“We recognise the need to adjust our timetable as necessary. On this as on all issues, we will not prejudge the final Weightman report.
“We continue with work on the design assessment of reactors, the local consents and site preparation processes, preparing our application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, recruiting the highly skilled people and suppliers who will help deliver the project and working to establish the policy framework for investment.
“We welcome Government’s commitment to move ahead on key facilitative actions including ratification of the National Policy Statements as soon as possible.”
Openness and trust
Mr de Rivaz also agreed with the report’s finding that there is a need for the nuclear industry, along with the safety authority, to further increase its openness and transparency.
He said: “We will continue to respond with humility and leadership. We recognise that the public has high expectations of us and we are committed to earning their trust.
We will develop our public engagement much further, listening and responding to people’s concerns.
“In particular we are developing a four-point plan to respond to Dr Weightman’s recommendation on openness. This will inspire our leaders to engage with others on nuclear; involve the people at our power stations, who best embody our safety culture, in building public trust; impact on stakeholders and our customers by listening to their concerns; and integrate in our plan others who can contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the achievements and challenges of our industry.”