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Dr Mike Weightman toasts the NI's vital role in nuclear

At the 67th North West Annual Dinner held on 22 May 2014, Dr Mike Weightman delivered a thought-provoking speech toasting the "Nuclear Institute and its vital role into the future" after receiving the renowned Hinton Medal award.

The Hinton Medal is at the pinnacle of Nuclear Institute awards and is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated excellence and achievement in nuclear science or engineering with a strong commitment to nuclear safety. 

Speaking to the audience of professionals working in the nuclear industry, Dr Mike Weightman concluded: "Your continuing adherence to nuclear values and ethical principles is so vital, as ensured by the Nuclear Institute engendering a passion for:  objectivity, openness and transparency, accountability, responsiveness, resilience... but perhaps most of all: professional integrity.

"With these the bright future of the peaceful use of nuclear power in the UK is safe and secure. Thus, I salute you and ask you to raise your glasses with me to toast the Nuclear Institute and its vital role into the future."

The speech, given after the medal had been presented by NI President, Rear Admiral Tim Chittenden, was heavily based upon on nuclear safety and professionalism.

Dr. Mike Wightman’s vast contribution to the nuclear industry includes his involvement in the development of nuclear safety policy in the UK and Internationally, particularly as evidenced by his leadership on Fukushima.

Mike Weightman and Tim Chittenden

He addressed the gathering of 650 guests at the North West branch annual dinner: "I am greatly honoured to be here tonight and humbled to receive this accolade from my peers, for that is the greatest honour of all.  But I accept it on behalf of all those who I have been fortunate enough to work with – especially the professional nuclear engineers and scientists who work tirelessly to ensure that this country can benefit from the safe secure use of nuclear power." 

The medal is given in memory of Lord Christopher Hinton, a founder of the British Nuclear Energy Society and a strong supporter of professionalism throughout the nuclear industry.

Dr Weightman went on to explain how the "UK is in a unique position with stable nuclear policy, market led investment, facilitating government action, and a fine history of nuclear science and technology excellence" but that the UK could lose this position if a mistake is made in the global nuclear industry. Speaking to the room full of nuclear sector workers, he stated that "the biggest factor in preventing this happening is your professionalism."  This view was explained using the fundamental lessons learned from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident.

This is a report with excerpts from Dr Mike Weightman's full speech given on the night, which can be read in full in the next issue of Nuclear Future.