The long awaited final report into the circumstances surrounding the Fukushima disaster was presented to parliament today by Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne who said it proved the UK regulatory framework for nuclear is “satisfactory”.
The final Weightman report was submitted on September 30 but not presented to parliament until today.
The report was commissioned by government following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan early this year.
Research and analysis for the report has been led by chef nuclear inspector, Dr Mike Weightman. The primary concern of the Weightman report was to establish whether safety standards and procedures in the UK nuclear industry were sufficient to avoid an occurance like the Fukishima disaster in the UK.
Although an interim report, released by Dr Weightman in May, indicated that the outlook was positive for players in the UK nuclear supply chain, many have felt that the release of the final report would bring greater clarity to procurement strategies, the timeline for nuclear new build and the likelihood of a truly competitive nuclear industry in the UK.
Speaking in parliament today Mr Huhne made clear that the outcomes of the report confirm government’s commitment to making nuclear power part of the energy mix powering Britain into a low carbon future. “
While some have cast doubt over the UK’s ability to carve out a competitive space in the global nuclear industry key players have indicated that Britain is strategically important within the their international plans. Nuclear contractor, Westinghouse held a press event in early September at which new product developments were announced.
Leaders from Westinghouse assured attendees at this event that the UK would be an important base in the future of the European nuclear industry and that they had already established strong partnerships with supply chain players in the UK.
According to sector skills council, Cogent the nuclear industry currently employs 44,000 people directly in the UK. However, if the path is now clear for government to push forward its nuclear new build programme then Cogent anticipate 1000 new worker will need to be recruited every year up to 2018 to support this growth.
Jonty Palmer, a partner at PwC said: “The industry has obviously been focused on accident prevention, but now needs to give more thought to accident mitigation. Nuclear energy is vitally important for the UK’s strategy of moving towards a low carbon and self-sufficient economy.”