Nuclear Regulator ONR – Independent or ‘In Cahoots’ With The Nuclear Industry

The following is from Martin Forwood from Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) –

Following concerns raised earlier this year about the direction currently being taken by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the announcement this week in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s E-Bulletin of 27th August that the Office for Nuclear Regulation has joined the newly convened ‘N—Group’ (—industry—voices/) raises major doubts about the Regulator’s independence from the industry it is tasked with policing.

According to the E-Builetin announcement. the N—Group sees the NDA joining together with other industry voices which include the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the Nuclear Industry Association (NlA), the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) and the Nuclear institute (Ni) as well as ONR. The NBA describes the idea ofthe new Group as creating ‘a dialogue between the member organisations to identify shared priorities and areas where we can collaborate for mutual benefit and for the benefit of the industry (emphasis added) and the UK as a whole’.

CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood commented today: “in terms of regulating the safety of nuclear facilities without fear or favour, it is beyond beliefthat ONR should think it suitable or sensible for a supposedly independent regulator to sit on this newly formed Group whose dialogue is for the benefit of the nuclear industry. If ONR is to retain any shred of public confidence in its ability to independently perform its vital safety and security rote, it must abandon its membership of this overtly pro-nuclear N Group immediately’. –

Shortly after gaining its independence (established under the 2013 Energy Act as a Public Corporation) on the tst April this year, that independence was challenged by the independent Newspaper (27/5/14) in an article that raised the clear conflicts of interest that resulted from ON R’s award of contracts for technical assistance to major UK contractors. These include Jacobs (part of the AWE weapons consortium) and Amec (Sellafield clean—up) — both of whom are supporting Horizon Nuclear Power’s plans for new-build at Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury in. Gloucestershire. Other ONR contractors include Arup and Sir Robert McAipine.

Martin Forwood added: ‘ONR has clearly lost its way recently and badly needs to get its act together if it is to fulfil its stated mission which its official website describes as providing efficient and effective regulation of the nuclear industry, holding it to account on behalf of the public ‘. ‘