Regulator Questions Nuclear Reactor Plans

LONDON, Nov. 27 (UPI) — A British safety regulator said it has concerns about the leading plans for new nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom.

The Guardian reported Friday the Health and Safety Executive refused to recommend design plans for nuclear reactors that would help the United Kingdom replace its aging atomic and coal plants.

The safety regulator’s concerns came after a review of France’s proposed European Pressurized Reactor model and the United States’ AP1000 nuclear reactor design.

The European model is supported by the French utility company, Electricita de France, and French nuclear engineering specialist Areva SA. The AP1000 design comes from the Westinghouse Electric Co. in the United States.

“We have identified a significant number of issues with the safety features of the design that would first have to be progressed. If these are not progressed satisfactorily, then we would not issue a design acceptance confirmation,” said the agency, which must approve the designs before any reactors can be built in Britain.

The Guardian said the agency voiced concerns about a lack of separation between the EPA design’s safety protection and control systems, while saying the AP1000 design falls short on safety measures regarding internal hazards.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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