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Third of U.K. Nuclear-Safety Concerns Unresolved, Regulator Says

A third of nuclear-safety concerns in the U.K. remain unresolved after the regulator outlined necessary improvements in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

The nuclear industry, which has until the end of 2014 to meet the demands of the Office of Nuclear Regulation, still has to fix 32 percent of concerns identified during site visits, the ONR said in a report one year after making its recommendations.

The ONR will “if necessary, consider enforcement action to ensure that appropriate measures are implemented,” said Deputy Chief Inspector Andy Hall. Reactors must be better prepared to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies, the ONR said, calling for plant reinforcements, reviews of cooling systems and ventilation routes for combustible gases.

The regulator’s recommendations last year followed the results of so-called stress tests on U.K. reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Dai-Ichi plant. The crisis triggered similar reviews in other countries and led some, including Germany, to decide to phase out nuclear power altogether.

“Much work is still to be done to implement the lessons from Fukushima,” the ONR report shows. “We expect the licensees to make proposals on how they intend to meet the required safety outcomes, and to justify why their proposal represents the safest reasonably practicable option for improvement.”

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