Public Organization Review

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 429–450 | Cite as

Effective Regulation and Support to Economic Growth: Are These Aims Mutually Exclusive in the Regulation of the UK’s Nuclear Industry?

  • Barry PembertonEmail author


This paper is a reflection on the UK governments’ latest regulatory intervention affecting all non-financial institutions, including the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The intervention forms part of the government’s response to the economic downturn experienced in the UK and requires regulators to take into account not only their responsibilities for maintaining safety, but also the impact of their actions on economic growth. While this may be a valid proposition for some organisations, the paper suggests that the unique characteristics of the nuclear industry should exempt its regulator from these government provisions. The paper identifies existing and historic regulatory and governance weaknesses that would suggest regulatory intervention should be reviewed but not from a need to enhance economic growth. Rather a need exists to redesign the regulatory process so that the industry’s hazards and risks arising are mitigated. An inherent conflict of interest is also identified that compounds historic governance problems where publicly-funded, government-appointed regulators attempt to regulate publicly-funded, government-appointed third-party organisations. While in neoliberal terms this may not be seen as an issue, I examine notable, generic, regulatory incidents where managerial and regulatory action failed to resolve resource allocation issues between the need to improve levels of economic growth or safety.


Nuclear industry Regulation of non-financial organisations Nuclear risk Risk mitigation Governance Nuclear accidents Economic growth 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WantageUK

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