11 Mar 13

EDF Energy statement on Fukushima anniversary

EDF Energy has acquired a fleet of specialist vehicles as part of a programme of enhancements

The safety of its nuclear power stations in the UK has always been the highest priority for EDF Energy. Following the nuclear incident at Fukushima two years ago, the company reviewed the safety of all its eight nuclear power stations to make sure that any lessons learned from Japan could be implemented in Britain.

After concluding that UK nuclear facilities have “no fundamental weaknesses”, the Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Mike Weightman’s original report made 38 recommendations. EDF Energy put in place a £200 million programme to meet those recommendations and has incorporated them into its plans for new nuclear power stations.

At the end of 2012 the Office for Nuclear Regulation concluded that it saw “good progress” being made by EDF Energy in implementing the measures. It is also noted that EDF Energy had demonstrated a “significant commitment” to addressing lessons learnt from Fukushima. Dr Weightman noted that EDF Energy has “expended considerable effort in identifying enhanced resilience, enhanced essential supplies and additional back-up equipment.”

The work by EDF Energy has extended beyond the existing eight nuclear power stations. The recently approved design for two new nuclear reactors has taken lessons from Fukushima into account.

As part of this programme of enhancements to be delivered across the fleet EDF Energy has:

  • Placed contracts for portable equipment and systems that will provide another layer of defence to the site-based systems. It has acquired a fleet of specialist vehicles designed to move people, equipment and clear debris in the case of an event. All this equipment is due to be available in 2013.
  • Begun a programme of work to enhance resilience at all stations, which will be largely completed in 2014.
  • Started work on an Emergency Response Centre near Sizewell B in Suffolk.
  • Opened four new visitor centres at nuclear stations as part of a commitment to openness and transparency. Three more are due to open in 2013.

EDF Energy’s Chief Technical Officer Stuart Crooks said: “Nuclear safety is the overriding priority for EDF Energy. We operate 15 reactors in the UK with a world class safety record. Since the events at Fukushima in March 2011, we’ve completed in-depth reviews to consider again extreme natural events like earthquakes and floods.

“These extensive studies assure us that the UK plants are safe to continue operation and this is a conclusion shared by the ONR, but we never take safety for granted. We’re delivering a comprehensive work programme to further enhance resilience and response to extreme natural events – due for completion in 2014.

“We have also taken on board the lessons from Fukushima in the design and operation of proposed new nuclear facilities in the UK.”