Enforcement action at Sellafield

The Environment Agency served an enforcement notice on BNFL’s Sellafield nuclear facility on 17 June over its failure to properly maintain pipelines used to discharge low-level radioactive waste into the Irish Sea.

The enforcement notice, issued under the 1993 Radioactive Substances Act, follows an incident earlier this year when two pieces of rubber gasket contaminated with radioactivity were found on local beaches. The gaskets had become detached from the seaward end of one of the discharge pipelines.

Tests confirmed that the radiation levels of both items were low, but they were confirmed as being above agreed reporting levels. The notice was issued because of BNFL’s failure to comply with an authorisation condition requiring it to keep in good repair systems used for the discharge of radioactive waste.