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Health and Safety Executive: Nuclear Directorate

Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 30 June 2009

Statement

Together with my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions with responsibility for health and safety, we are today launching a consultation on our proposed restructuring of the Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate.

The proposed restructuring is designed to reinvigorate the organisational arrangements of nuclear regulation to take account of current and future challenges in the nuclear environment. The restructuring will consolidate regulatory functions currently carried out by separate parts of government into a new, sector-specific statutory body that will have greater autonomy than at present but remain within the auspices of HSE. The Government propose to effect the restructuring through a legislative reform order.

The regulator would be named in legislation as responsible for its regulatory functions, which at the moment lie with the Secretary of State, and the new body will be governed by an independent board comprising of predominantly non-executive members. For the first time the role of chief inspector would also be established in legislation, preserving the independence of regulatory decision making. The Government believe that these measures will enhance the transparency and accountability of nuclear regulation overall.

These proposals for reform seek to build on the existing regulatory strengths, while creating a modern organisation that is empowered to meet the challenges of the changing nuclear environment; creating a regulator that is widely acclaimed for its excellence in this new environment and can maintain its world-class reputation into the future.

The consultation will close on 22 September 2009 and will be followed by a government response.