An analysis of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident reveals no fundamental safety weaknesses in the UK’s nuclear industry but concludes that by learning lessons it can be made even safer.
Mike Weightman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations and Executive Head of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, has published a report today in which he points to Government, industry, and regulators to review 38 areas where he concludes lessons can be learned in the UK from the nuclear crisis in Japan. These include: reliance on off-site infrastructure such as the electrical grid supply in extreme events, emergency response arrangements, layout of plant, risks associated with flooding, planning controls around nuclear facilities and prioritizing safety reviews.
The report, requested by the UK Government, was published in interim form on 18 May. Since then, Dr Weightman has drawn on national and international expert opinion, and led a fact-finding mission to Japan in June - including a visit to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant - to compile a thorough analysis of the evidence that has emerged to date.
Mike Weightman said: “I remain confident that our UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental safety weaknesses. The Office for Nuclear Regulation already requires protection of nuclear sites against the worst-case scenarios that are predictable for the UK. But we are not complacent. Our philosophy is one of continuous improvement. No matter how high our standards, the quest for improvement must never stop. We will ensure lessons are learned from Fukushima. Action has already been taken in many cases, with work under way to further enhance safety at UK sites.”
The report published today was requested by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, within days of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 11March that led to the crisis at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station. A report will be published next year on progress in implementing the lessons for the UK.

The report, ‘Japanese earthquake and tsunami: Implications for the UK Nuclear Industry’, is available at

 This story is reprinted from material from the Health and Safety Exectutive, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to site.