U.K. nuclear regulator issues recommendations, warns of nuclear reactor shutdowns for noncompliance, says it's pushing EDF for further security measures, will be ready to review GE Hitachi nuclear reactor design in 2012

LOS ANGELES , October 12, 2011 () – U.K.’s nuclear regulator on Tuesday issued recommendations for the industry that are intended to avert a nuclear crisis such as occurred at the Dai-ichi power plant in Fukushima, Japan, in March, reported Reuters on Oct. 12.

Noncompliance with the recommendations could result in reactors being shut down, said Mike Weightman, head of Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), adding that his office has “various legal means and enforcement powers” to ensure compliance.

In releasing his report on Tuesday, Weightman said the U.K.’s nuclear power industry could learn from the Fukushima disaster such things as emergency power supply and protection against flooding, Reuters reported.

The ONR is pushing EDF Energy, the U.K.’s largest nuclear power operator, to take additional security steps beyond its initial response to a report issued in May, said Weightman.

The company, which is part of France-based EDF Group, plans to build Britain’s first new nuclear power plant, at a site in southern England.

Looking ahead, the ONR expects to have enough staff to be able to review a new reactor design by U.S.-Japanese company GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Ltd. next year, said Weightman, noting that his office plans to hire 30 new nuclear safety inspectors annually, reported Reuters.

Earlier this year, the company was told that the ONR was too busy with the approval processes for reactor designs from Areva SA and Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC, as well as its response to the Fukushima disaster, to deal with another reactor design application.

GE Hitachi expects to submit its Generic Design Assessment application in first- or second-quarter 2012, the company said last month. The license, which is needed before a specific reactor design can be used, costs about £25 million (US$39.4 million), said Weightman, Reuters reported.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on Oct. 12, 2011.

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