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Nuclear Power

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he plans to make of which designs of generation III reactors are suitable for pre-licensing assessment. (97215)

The Department is working with the independent nuclear regulators to develop a system for the pre-licensing of generic nuclear power plant designs, in line with the commitments given in the 2006 Energy Review report. Details of these arrangements will be included in the guidance for applicants to be issued in early 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent assessment has been made of the safety of UK nuclear power plants; and if he will make a statement. (97493)

The UK has a robust licensing regime enforced by HSE's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) which places a clear legal duty on the nuclear power plant licensees to ensure that safety is maintained at all times throughout a nuclear plant's operational life and its decommissioning. This requires regular assessments by the licensees which are submitted for regulatory scrutiny by the NII. The NII will not allow the continued operation or restart of a nuclear reactor unless it is satisfied that it is safe to do so.