Revelations at the weekend that the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) identified two failings during an emergency exercise in March at Rolls-Royce’s Derby site have caused alarm among local residents.
Fears have not been dispelled by the news that the company had changed its procedures and that the NII was satisfied with a repeat exercise last week.
The site, which produces fuel for Britain’s nuclear submarines, does not carry out enrichment of the uranium that fuels submarine reactors – 97.3% fissile uranium against about 3% for a power station plant. However, it appears to manufacture the uranium-zirconium plates that make up the fuel modules. This is a chemical process, which carries similar risks.
* Rolls-Royce has signed a deal with US defence firm Pratt & Whitney to supply a key part for the American Joint Strike Fighter.
It will supply the short take-off and vertical landing lift system for the JSF119 turbofan in its engineering and manufacturing development phase.