A thorough review of the UK’s nuclear power sector following the events at Fukushima by the Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Mike Weightman found that UK facilities had “no fundamental weaknesses.”
Dr Weightman made a number of recommendations to further enhance safety and resilience and EDF Energy immediately started a plan to meet these recommendations at its eight nuclear power stations.
This included additional training for key technical staff, enhancements to backup equipment for cooling systems, and emergency command and control facilities.
A key part of the enhancements included a new Emergency Response Centre near Sizewell B which provides robust back-up for the multiple safety systems already in place at the station.
As the only Pressurised Water Reactor operating in the UK, Sizewell B has a dedicated ERC in response to a recommendation of the Office for Nuclear Regulation to further enhance safety margins. EDF Energy has created three regional facilities to service its other nuclear power stations which use a different technology
Stuart Crooks, Managing Director of EDF Energy’s Generation business, said: “In the immediate aftermath of Fukushima we satisfied ourselves and the regulator that our plants were safe to continue operation.
“At the same time we conducted a detailed review to ensure we had learned the lessons from the event and make recommendations to improve our safety margins even more.
Although this work programme has been successfully completed and validated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation we will continue to learn and ensure we achieve safe reliable generation of low carbon electricity over the life of our nuclear stations.”
The Japanese Earthquake Response Programme’s final report to the ONR can be read here