The chairpersons of three of the UK’s regulators met at Sizewell B power station in Suffolk to discuss future working and collaboration on safety and environmental matters.
Mark McAllister, Chair of The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), invited his counterparts from the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to join his planned visit to the EDF-run site on the west coast of England.
Mark, Emma Howard Boyd (Environment Agency) and Sarah Newton (HSE) spent time at Sizewell B, the UK’s only operating Pressurised Water Reactor nuclear power station.
The group also viewed the land adjacent to the existing Sizewell B station where NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd is seeking to construct and operate twin EPR reactors.
ONR is currently assessing their application for a nuclear site licence for Sizewell C.
The visit to Sizewell demonstrated how the three regulators, who all play different roles in oversight of Britain’s nuclear facilities, are committed to working effectively.
Other senior figures from the three regulators joined the chairs including Mark Foy, ONR’s Chief Executive and Chief Nuclear Inspector, John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s Executive Director of Local Operations and Sarah Albon, HSE’s Chief Executive.
The visit further strengthened ties between the three organisations who reaffirmed their joint commitment to be prepared for any growth in future regulatory demand at existing nuclear facilities or the government’s new build ambitions.
ONR is the independent nuclear regulator of nuclear safety, security, safeguards and conventional health and safety at the 36 licensed nuclear sites in Great Britain whose mission is ‘to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations.’
The Environment Agency also ensures that the industry meets high standards of environmental protection throughout design and construction, operation and decommissioning.
The HSE supports ONR in some aspects of conventional health and safety matters on nuclear sites.
Mark McAllister, ONR’s Chair, said: “I regularly meet with the Chairs of the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive, but the three of us visiting Sizewell nuclear power station brings a new dynamic, with the focus on how we work together within our field.
“This chair-to-chair relationship augments the relationship at board level, which helps to get our messages across to a wider audience and improves our mutual working together.
“We looked principally at Sizewell B, but also the land where Sizewell C might be built, as we need to look ahead at any challenges that we may need to address together.”
EDF Energy owns and operates Sizewell B, which started generating electricity in 1995.