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ONR publishes Annual Plan for 2013-14

07 May 2013

The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has produced its first standalone, fully costed Annual Plan, setting out priority objectives and key activities, key performance indicators and budget for 2013-14. The Plan was compiled in consultation with the ONR's Chief Executive, and with the Chief Nuclear Inspector, Deputy CEO and all Programme Directors.

The guiding principles of the plan are to have a nuclear sector that:
* controls its hazards safely, securely and effectively,
* has a culture of continuous improvement and sustained excellence in operations, and
* whenever possible, shares information about their activities with the public and acts as a trusted source of information.

In the forthcoming year, ONR says its greatest regulatory challenges are securing the delivery of reductions in hazards at Sellafield, and to facilitate lasting improvements in the UK’s preparedness to respond to a nuclear emergency. Equally, ONR will focus attention on its regulatory assurance and corporate centre to provide stakeholders with confidence in ONR’s effectiveness and efficiency as a nuclear regulator.

Other key areas of regulatory focus include accelerating remediation of legacy plants; oversight of generating companies’ need to guarantee UK energy supplies, and to the defence sector’s nuclear requirements; as well as responding to Government’s interest in the new generation of nuclear power stations.

The Plan says the UK nuclear industry is in a period of change with greater levels of private sector involvement and competition, the increased use of contractors, and the entry of new players into the UK market. In addition, the UK nuclear sector is increasingly affected by a number of global factors that impact on ONR’s work, including:
* the drive from the nuclear sector internationally for greater co-operation between regulators leading to a convergence of regulatory standards for new nuclear facilities;
* increased international involvement in nuclear safety and security regulation in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, including the development of a new Nuclear Safety Directive by the European Commission;
* competition with India, China and the Middle East to attract investment in new nuclear reactors and the need to have a regulatory regime that does not act as a disincentive to investment in the UK;
* an increasingly competitive global nuclear skills market, which can affect ONR’s ability to recruit highly qualified and experienced nuclear specialists. This is of particular importance to ONR as a significant proportion of our existing inspectors are approaching retirement age;
* the technical capability of the nuclear supply chain to provide quality products and components;
* a range of modern threats to the security of nuclear facilities, including to their personnel and information systems;
* the economic climate which requires all public sector organisations continually to seek financial efficiencies, and to improve financial control and accountability.

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