The UK Government's Chief Nuclear Inspector has today released his interim report into the implications to the UK's nuclear fleet in light of the Fukushima disaster.
He clearly states that the UK is highly unlikely to suffer a similar situation to the one which gave rise to the meltdown in Fukushima:
"The direct causes of the nuclear accident, a magnitude 9 earthquake and the associated 14 metre high tsunami, are far beyond the most extreme natural events that the UK would be expected to experience. We are reassuringly some 1000 miles from the edge of a tectonic plate, where earthquake activity is more common and severe."
He also goes on to point out that we do not use the same reactor types in the UK or plan to do so in the future:
"UK nuclear power plants, both operational and those planned, are of a different design to the BWR [Boiling Water Reactor] reactors at the Fukushima-1 site."
He report then makes the following 11 conclusions for the UK:
Conclusion 1: In considering the direct causes of the Fukushima accident we see no reason for curtailing the operation of nuclear power plants or other nuclear facilities in the UK. Once further work is completed any proposed improvements will be considered and implemented on a case by case basis, in line with our normal regulatory approach.
Conclusion 2: In response to the Fukushima accident, the UK nuclear power industry has reacted responsibly and appropriately displaying leadership for safety and a strong safety culture in its response to date.
Conclusion 3: The Government’s intention to take forward proposals to create the Office for Nuclear Regulation, with the post and responsibilities of the Chief Inspector in statute, should enhance confidence in the UK’s nuclear regulatory regime to more effectively face the challenges of the future.
Conclusion 4: To date, the consideration of the known circumstances of the Fukushima accident has not revealed any gaps in scope or depth of the Safety Assessment Principles for nuclear facilities in the UK.
Conclusion 5: Our considerations of the events in Japan, and the possible lessons for the UK, has not revealed any significant weaknesses in the UK nuclear licensing regime.
Conclusion 6: Flooding risks are unlikely to prevent construction of new nuclear power stations at potential development sites in the UK over the next few years. For sites with a flooding risk, detailed consideration may require changes to plant layout and the provision of particular protection against flooding.
Conclusion 7: There is no need to change the present siting strategies for new nuclear power stations in the UK.
Conclusion 8: There is no reason to depart from a multi-plant site concept given the design measures in new reactors being considered for deployment in the UK and adequate demonstration in design and operational safety cases.
Conclusion 9: The UK’s gas-cooled reactors have lower power densities and larger thermal capacities than water cooled reactors which with natural cooling capabilities give longer timescales for remedial action. Additionally, they have a lesser need for venting on loss of cooling and do not produce concentrations of hydrogen from fuel cladding overheating.
Conclusion 10: There is no evidence to suggest that the presence of MOX fuel in Reactor Unit 3 significantly contributed to the health impact of the accident on or off the site.
Conclusion 11: With more information there is likely to be considerable scope for lessons to be learnt about human behaviour in severe accident conditions that will be useful in enhancing contingency arrangements and training in the UK for such events.
Based on conclusions 1, 6, and 7 above, it is clear that the disaster at Fukushima will not prevent the continued development of Wylfa B here in Ynys Môn.
Read the whole report below: