Action plan for power stations

AN action plan has been revealed for nuclear power stations including Hartlepool after the crisis in Japan.

Hartlepool’s N-plant owners EDF Energy have drawn up a hit list of measures to be taken immediately in the aftermath of the disaster at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Four of the Japanese plant’s six reactors have been rocked by explosions and fires since last week’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz revealed plans for his company’s own plants in the UK which includes:

l Station directors to carry out an immediate check on power station back-up systems. Those checks need to be “over and above normal audit processes”’;

l Refresher training for workers on EDF’s back-up systems;

l Reviewing the EDF emergency plan;

l Making sure any lessons learned from Japan are fed into EDF’s own safety programme.

Mr de Rivaz spoke at a recent meeting of the Nuclear Development Forum where he said everyone’s thoughts were with the Japanese people.

He added: “I have been struck by the dignity, courage and resilience of the Japanese people in these extraordinary and dramatic circumstances.”

He said EDF was arranging for 100 tonnes of boric acid to be shipped to Japan to help with cooling efforts, as well as potassium iodate tablets which help to protect people against radiation.

EDF staff are also on alert to be mobilised to help in Japan

Mr de Rivaz added: “The world is watching what is happening in Japan. It is totally right that the nuclear incident unfolding at the moment should trigger so much attention and concern.”

He said EDF was determined to support the report ordered by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne on the lessons the UK can learn from the events in Japan: “As licensee and operator of the existing nuclear fleet in the UK, we are already examining closely reports of events and implementing early actions.”

He said EDF’s Generation Board held an extraordinary meeting this week to “take stock of recent events”.

But he added: “We should not, at this stage, make snap decisions about existing nuclear power stations until all the facts are known.

“Nor should we reach hasty decisions about nuclear new-build.

“The events in Japan do not change the need for nuclear in Britain. The critical task in front of us today is to deliver a secure, clean and affordable energy mix.”