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Nuclear Installations Inspectorate: Manpower

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the effect of staffing levels in the (a) the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and (b) the HSE Nuclear Directorate on (i) safety at the UK’s nuclear sites and (ii) the rate of progress of the generic design assessment. (289870)

Primary responsibility for safety at the UK’s nuclear sites rests with the operators of those sites. The role of HSE’s Nuclear Directorate, which includes the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, is to provide regulatory oversight and assurance that they discharge that responsibility. I am advised by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations that he has the resources available to discharge that role.

As a result of successive recruitment exercises, resources in the Directorate for generic design assessment should reach planned levels by December this year. The Health and Safety Executive is confident, subject to the provision of the necessary documentation from the industry, that it will meet the published timetable for completing a meaningful assessment of the generic design proposals by June 2011.

The Government are determined to ensure that nuclear regulation is properly and sustainably resourced to meet the challenges of the future. It has published proposals to restructure the Nuclear Directorate to that end, which can be found at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/hse_restruct/hse_restruct.aspx