Responding to Barrie Skelcher’s letter ‘ONR has much to prove’ (17 December), I would like to reassure your readers that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) operates independently of nuclear licensees and Government.
Indeed plans are progressing to create ONR as an independent statutory corporation, as described in the Energy Bill in November.
Last week, after five years of rigorous assessment, ONR granted a Design Acceptance Confirmation to EDF Energy and Areva for their generic design of a new nuclear reactor. We took this decision after completing our planned assessment and only once outstanding design issues had been addressed to our satisfaction.
With regard to Mr Skelcher’s comments about Sizewell B, the emergency planning arrangements for both Sizewell A and B stations have been subject to the same level of regulatory scrutiny. ONR is content that the existing off-site emergency plan addresses reasonably foreseeable accidents at both sites.
Deputy Chief Inspector and Director of ONR’s Civil Nuclear Reactor programme