British Nuclear Regulator Sends Mixed Messages About Nuclear Power – Threatens National Shutdown, Claims Fukushima "Out of the Way"

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Britain’s nuclear regulator said he could shut down plants that fail to comply with recommendations put forward on Tuesday in response to Japan’s Fukushima crisis.

“If operators don’t comply, we have various legal means and enforcement powers, but I’m sure the industry will respond effectively and the information we received already showed that they have taken a robust approach,” said Mike Weightman, head of Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The body’s enforcement powers include stopping operations at nuclear plants and the issue of improvement notices, he said.

“Fukushima we’ve got out of the way now … we’ll see how we can build, if need be, a team to look at GE Hitachi,” Weightman said, adding that the decision depended on timing and staff availability.

The body plans to recruit 30 new nuclear safety inspectors per year who will be able to take on tasks such as a third Generic Design Assessment – the regulator’s nuclear reactor design approval process.

Editorial Comment:

Fukushima is out of the way? It appears ONR has swept Fukushima under the rug. But there are some rather large bumps in that there rug, including the ever-expanding zone of contamination as new hotspots are found around Tokyo.  The question remains; how long it will be until they stumble on these lumps which are under foot?

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