Office for Nuclear Regulation

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ENSREG fact-finding mission to Sizewell B

19 September, 2012

An international fact finding mission recently visited Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk. The mission was led by ENSREG, an independent authoritative expert body composed of senior officials from national regulatory or nuclear safety authorities from all 27 member states in the EU.

The ENSREG visit to Sizewell B follows the stress tests held last year and the conclusion of the international peer review held earlier this year. Similar visits will be carried out at a small number of nuclear sites across Europe. These visits will provide ENSREG with information on measures being taken to improve safety and will facilitate sharing of learning gained from implementing these improvements.

ENSREG will report its findings from these visits later this year. Its report will include a brief description of the plant, a summary of what was observed, measures already decided or considered, good practices, successes and any lessons learned from events at Fukushima. The ENSREG team were supported at Sizewell B by members of Office for Nuclear Regulation and EDF Energy, the licensee of this power station.

Background

Following the events at Fukushima, the nuclear industry in the UK responded quickly to review UK plant against seismic and flooding hazards. HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, Mike Weightman, was asked by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to produce interim and final reports on lessons learnt from these events for the UK nuclear industry.

Subsequently, the UK took part in a Europe wide review of safety at European nuclear power plants known as the ‘stress tests’. The stress tests were subject to a peer review process and the findings were published on the ENSREG website.

The stress test process has concluded and implementation of any safety improvements that have been identified will be managed through the ENSREG Task Force Implementation Plan.

A small number of European nuclear site visits will take place as following the completion of the stress test and peer review. Their objective is to gather information and identify good practices relevant to the implementation of the peer review recommendations.  The information gathered during these visits will be used to assist the process by which ENSREG will follow up on the Action Plans. These visits will promote cooperation and confidence building between European countries.