EDF Energy’s nuclear fleet is robust and safe

EDF Energy has submitted, on deadline, thousands of pages of documents to the Office for Nuclear Regulation ONR as required under the EU stress testing programme.

Following the tsunami in Japan in March this year, the EU called for a programme of ‘stress tests’ across the member countries with each nuclear operator submitting details of safety assessments to its nuclear regulators which would be provided in turn to the EU in 2012.

EDF Energy committed to supporting this programme and to learning from the events at Fukushima. Its response to the Weightman Report, published on 11 October, and today’s response to ONR for the EU programme, have been combined into a Comprehensive Safety Assessment which is being coordinated by a team of experienced and dedicated professionals from the company’s nuclear businesses with independent expert verification. . The UK team is working closely with colleagues in France to share and learn lessons as appropriate within the European context.

Reports on the Comprehensive Safety Review will be published by the ONR in due course.

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said:  “Our Comprehensive Safety Review has confirmed the safe design of our UK nuclear fleet.

“The assessment has proved that we are very robust under the most extreme scenarios, even those far beyond what could ever be plausible in the UK – including combinations of flooding, seismic events, fire and extreme weather – and confirmed that the plants would operate safely as they are designed to do. We’ve taken the scenarios even further – many times beyond the scenarios the plants are designed for in some cases – and found that we would continue be very robust under these extreme conditions.

“Nonetheless I have said before that this is an industry which learns from experience and seeks to improve its safety continually. As such, the events at Fukushima are already having an impact on the way the nuclear industry operates both now and in the years to come – supporting our drive for continuous improvement in nuclear safety.

“We have been able to identify ways to further enhance our current very safe position; for example we will invest in additional back-up equipment such as electrical supplies for cooling systems, equipment related to fuel pond cooling and emergency command and control facilities o help us recover if the worst does happen, however low the probability.

“In addition we have reviewed our processes and training programmes and carried further work including additional refresher training in accident management for key technical staff.”

EDF Energy has also analysed the proposed Hinkley Point C EPR design against the same criteria and have reaffirmed its safe design. We will make a separate submission for nuclear new build to ONR by the end of November.

Although yesterday’s deadline marks a milestone for EDF Energy, the work continues. The next two years will see the delivery of the additional enhancements outlined in the Comprehensive Safety Assessment and the team will also remain in place to support ONR through the overall stress test programme.