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IChemE members welcome UK nuclear safety report

31 May 2011

Senior IChemE members have welcomed a new interim report about the implications of the nuclear crisis in Japan and its impact on the UK nuclear industry. The report, conducted by Michael Weightman, HM chief inspector of nuclear installations, says that there is no need to restrict UK nuclear power following incidents earlier this year.

Weightman describes the threat of earthquakes and tsunamis like those experienced in Japan as ‘far beyond the most extreme natural events’ likely to be experienced in the UK but does call for revaluation of existing plant safety systems.

The report says that there is no need to change the present siting strategies for new nuclear power stations in the UK but for those sites with a flooding risk, detailed consideration may require changes to plant layout and the provision of particular protection against flooding.

Bill Harper, Chair of IChemE’s nuclear technology subject group says: “The interim report is a substantial and authoritative piece of work, especially impressive given the short timescales.

“I fully agree with the interim conclusions and recommendations. Many chemical engineers will be involved in the resulting evaluation of existing and proposed facilities. The process safety and full systems approach which is inherent in the chemical engineering profession will be most appropriate.”

IChemE Honorary Fellow Sue Ion says: “Nuclear power is an important part of the UK’s energy mix and is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future as we strive to achieve a low-carbon economy."

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