'Rushed' report gives UK nuclear industry clean bill of health
A long awaited report into the UK's nuclear industry has given it a clean bill of health but has been rushed out with little time for scrutiny according to critics.
The Weightman Report, authored by the UK's chief nuclear inspector Dr Mike Weightman, came after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.
It was presented this week to Parliament and follows and interim report, published in May, which also saw little fault in the industry.
The full report found 'no reason' to stop the operation of UK nuclear sites, but did recommend continuous improvement.
It also found no fundamental weaknesses in the nuclear licensing regime or the safety assessment principles behind it.
Dr Weightman also finds the practice of set safety reviews of licensed sites 'robust' and says the events at Fukushima reinforce the need to pursue decommissioning of former nuclear sites with 'utmost vigour and determination'.
Presenting the report energy secretary, Chris Huhne, said: "The report makes clear the UK has one of the best nuclear safety regimes in the world and nuclear power can go on powering homes and businesses across the UK as well as supporting jobs.
"We must, however, continue to improve where we can, not just with operating power stations and new sites but by dealing with our nuclear legacy in a robust and effective manner too."
However, Green MP and party leader, Caroline Lucas, was less impressed, she said: "The report rushed out in a written statement offering little chance for Parliamentary scrutiny, will do little to reassure the British public that the nuclear industry can be trusted to power our energy future.
"There has been a continuous failure to properly interrogate the environmental and economic viability of nuclear and the huge risks involved, both in further expansion and in dealing with the UK's scandalous decommissioning legacy.
"Indeed, the revelations about the shady collusion between Coalition officials and industry to create a pro-nuclear public information campaign in the days after Fukushima proved that not even a large scale nuclear incident can halt this Government's ideological obsession with new nuclear.
"Here in the UK, the government is doing all it can to rig the energy market in nuclear's favour, for example with the policies included in the Electricity Market Reform process."