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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20951: Pauline McNeill (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 January 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to assess any implications arising from restarting the Hunterston B power station.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 29 January 2019

Whilst the safety of nuclear installations is a reserved matter to the UK Government, public safety is the Scottish Government’s absolute priority and it therefore takes all safety issues relating to the entire Scottish civil nuclear estate very seriously indeed.

Scottish Government officials therefore are, and will continue to be, in regular contact with UK Government officials in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in respect of safety & security matters at Hunterston B.

The office for Nuclear Regulator (ONR) regulates EDF through on-site inspections which ensure that EDF controls its hazards effectively and maintains the highest nuclear safety and security standards. The ONR has a team of specialist inspectors from ONR's assessment units, whom site inspectors can draw upon for in-depth specialist expert advice.

EDF are required to produce safety cases to justify a return to service of the reactors at Hunterston B. This is a standard regulatory requirement in such circumstances. Once the ONR has received the safety cases, it will fully assess them and permission will only be granted for the reactor to return to service if the ONR is satisfied that it is safe to do so.

Scottish Government officials in the Resilient Essential Services Team are receiving regular updates from the ONR in respect of the on-going safety assessments and any potential return to service of the reactors.

In respect of security of supply of the UK electricity network, the reactors at Hunterston, in total, provide a potential 965 Megawatts to the National Grid.