Britain delays approvals for new nuclear reactors

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Britain on Tuesday delayed interim approvals for its next generation of nuclear reactors by at least three months to "learn lessons" from the damage to the tsunami-hit Fukushima plant in Japan.

Britain's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had hoped to grant interim design acceptances for reactors from French partners EDF and Areva, and Westinghouse, owned by Japan's Toshiba conglomerate.

The decision had been expected in June, but now a decision will not be made until a government report into the implications of the Fukushima incident is published in September.

The delay "will allow us to maximise the benefit of the assessment work we have already done, and also ensure that the generic reactor designs take account of relevant lessons learned from the events in Japan," the HSE said.

"It is important that we take the necessary time needed to ensure that we learn any relevant lessons emerging from the events in Japan, and implement any improvements that might be required to the new reactor designs."

Several European firms want to build five new plants in Britain with at least 10 reactors, which would be worth around £30 billion ($50 billion, 34 billion euros).

© 2011 AFP

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