11 Oct 11

EDF Energy commits to implement Weightman recommendations as report reaffirms safety of nuclear power


EDF Energy, and its partner Centrica, today responded to Dr Mike Weightman’s report into the events at Fukushima in March caused by the Japanese tsunami.


Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “Dr Weightman has undertaken a comprehensive, transparent and evidence-based review of the implications for nuclear power in the UK.


“The report demonstrates the importance of strong, expert regulation and will provide valuable input to the process of continuous improvement.


“We will review his findings in detail and build them into our plans. We have already committed to implementing his recommendations for us in full.


“We welcome Dr Weightman’s reaffirmation that ‘UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental safety weaknesses’. He also said that the industry had responded ‘constructively and responsibly’ and specifically that EDF Energy had shown ‘appropriate commitment’ to address his recommendations.


“Immediately following the incident at Fukushima, we reviewed our processes and training programmes. Since Dr Weightman’s Interim Report we have carried out additional work to strengthen our safety performance further. We have delivered additional refresher training in Severe Accident Management for key technical staff and we are putting in place enhancements to our backup equipment such as electrical supplies for cooling systems, equipment related to fuel pond cooling and emergency command and control facilities.


“We invest more than £300 million a year in our nuclear fleet. As a result of Fukushima we will invest even more.


“Our safety performance is strong and subject to continuous improvement, including through the robust Periodic Safety Review process.


“We will also play our part in three recommendations highlighted by Secretary of State for Energy Chris Huhne MP, which are to review the UK’s ability to provide real time information in an emergency and the robustness of its emergency control structures, as well as to continue promotion of the nuclear safety culture.


Today’s publication is also important for EDF Energy and Centrica’s nuclear new build plans.


Dr Weightman re-confirmed his view that, subject to implementation of his recommendations, there are no safety issues that would prevent the companies’ plans for new nuclear in the UK.


Incorporating learnings from Fukushima and from EDF’s construction projects in France and China is one of many ongoing pieces of work.


Mr de Rivaz said: “This is important because Britain needs new nuclear to tackle the three challenges of keeping the lights on, keeping prices affordable and reducing emissions.


“We will build more than just a nuclear power station. It is part of the growth agenda for Britain. The project’s legacy will contribute to a strong economic future by restarting a nuclear construction industry after a gap of nearly twenty years and creating jobs and business opportunities for decades to come, as well as affordable, secure and clean electricity for homes and businesses.


“Creating such a legacy is a major task which depends on a wide range of people and organisations pulling together.


“I have said the most important thing is to have a viable project. Government, industry, regulators, local authorities, the supply chain and skills and education bodies must all play their part to deliver this massive project. We are in it together.”


The ONR has today published on its website all submissions, including those of EDF Energy and Centrica, to Dr Weightman’s interim report as well as the submissions to the final report.


EDF Energy fully supports this publication which is consistent with the company’s commitment to openness and transparency. EDF Energy has further enhanced this approach under a four-pillared programme to inspire our company’s leaders to engage on nuclear; involve the people at our power stations who best embody our safety culture in building public trust; impact by listening to stakeholders’ and customers’ concerns; and integrate others who can contribute to a better understanding of the achievements and challenges of our industry.


Under the programme EDF Energy has welcomed hundreds of visitors to its plants over the past six months, launched a new internet section providing daily operational information on each its plants and held a Nuclear Forum with a range of external stakeholders to challenge it and help find further ways to build trust.