The new statutory corporation will take on the relevant functions currently carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and Department for Transport.
Negotiator Mike Macdonald said: “Our members are experts in their field and they believe the creation of this independent body will give a better focus for nuclear safety regulation. We’ve not yet seen the detail but as long as our conditions are met, this will be a step forward for public safety, especially in the light of new nuclear build.
“Prospect has always sought three objectives. First, that there is a board of directors close to the industry, with external members representing employers and staff in the nuclear sector, including the trade unions. This change will allow inspectors to focus on the real health and safety issues in the industry rather than political decisions.
“Second, we want freedom for regulators to make the best professional decisions in each case, free from political or commercial pressure, and in the public interest.
“Third, the new body will need the freedom to set its pay, pensions and other terms and conditions. People with the skills and experience needed have been historically very difficult to recruit and retain because of uncompetitive pay levels – hopefully today’s decision will help resolve these difficulties.”
Macdonald welcomed the fact that the new organisation would continue to retain strong relations with the Health and Safety Executive as the UK’s national centre of excellence.
Prospect has 226 members working for the HSE’s existing Nuclear Installations Inspectorate – most are inspectors, but they also include managers, security specialists and non-nuclear safety experts.