Select Committee on Trade and Industry Written Evidence


Third memorandum by British Energy


  Nuclear safety remains paramount and our overriding objective in operating our nuclear stations is to prevent any radiological release that may threaten the public, our workforce, or the environment.


  Nuclear power is a highly regulated industry. Our nuclear site licenses are issued by the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and place specific conditions on the way we manage safety. The NII monitor compliance with each nuclear site license through an inspector assigned to each station. We must gain NII consent each time we start up a reactor following an outage, and the NII can direct a licensee to shut down a reactor if they do not consider it safe to operate.

  British Energy also carries out self-regulation, placing great emphasis on the importance of maintaining and continuing to develop a "safety first" culture. We have internal processes aimed at delivering continuous improvements in performance and safety.


  Our commitment to safety is reflected in our consultation and advisory processes. We operate Health and Safety Committees (HESACs) at each of our locations, which promote consultation between management and unions on issues of safety, health and welfare matters as well as environmental protection. The HESACs play a proactive role in promoting safety culture and good practice.


  We operate to strict procedures to minimise the doses received by employees and contractors at all our nuclear power stations. Doses are reduced by shielding workers from the sources of radiation and by the use of protective equipment. We monitor every worker who enters an area where he or she may receive radiation. Individual radiation doses are measures in Sieverts (Sv) and collective doses in man-Sv/reactor.

  To put our dose rates in an international context, in 2005, BE's reactors were in the best performing 10% in the world for achieved doses. Our good performance against international standards is partly due to our good practices, but also due to the design of our Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors (AGRs) which require less human entry to areas of high radiation than some other reactor designs.

  The statutory limit for annual radiation dose to any individual employee or contractor is 20 mSv, but the Company operates to a more restrictive dose level of 10 mSv.


  British Energy's industrial safety record remains amongst the best of UK industry due to safety management arrangements in place to implement our health and safety policy. The Company encourages a culture of open reporting of all accidents, including those where no actual injury resulted.

  Each year the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) presents awards for excellence in managing health and safety at work. By recognising such performance these awards promote safety and encourage best practice.

  This year's awards attained by British Energy's nuclear stations are as follows:

    Commendation in the Electricity Sector—Hunterston B (this is one of the premier awards singling them out as one of the very best performers).

    Order of Distinction—Heysham 2 (this is based on at least 15 successive gold awards).

    Presidents award—Dungeness B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Torness (this is based on at least 10 successive gold awards).

    Gold Medal—Hinkley Point B, Sizewell B (this is based on at least five successive gold awards).

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006
Prepared 21 December 2006