The head of the UK's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and the chairman of the IAEA Commission on Safety Standards said there is no "need to develop any separate safety standards in Europe." Speaking at a press conference last month, Laurence Williams, director of nuclear safety at NII and chair of an IAEA group of regu;ators, said that the IAEA is producing a comprehensive set of safety standards, which are due to be published in September, that had been produced by a very rigourous process. "If every country was to comply with the IAEA standards, then that would be harmonisation of safety," he said. He added that all European Union (EU) countries have already signed the IAEA's 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety. His comments were made in response to a question on the European Commission's proposals for a unified EU-wide approach to nuclear safety.
Williams also confirmed that NII is no longer looking into the licensing of new reactor designs in the UK. "Up until the publication of the energy white paper, we were planning to look at licensing the AP1000," he said, adding that the recent white paper (see NEI March 2003, p2) effectively ruled out new nuclear build in the UK. However, he confirmed that NII participation in Generation IV technologies continued.