Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Nuclear regulators confirm legal action against Sellafield Limited

15 November, 2012

Sellafield Limited is to be prosecuted over a waste disposal incident, the Environment Agency and Office for Nuclear Regulation confirmed today.

The regulators’ joint action follows an extensive investigation which has led to allegations that the company sent and disposed of four bags of low-level radioactive waste from its site in West Cumbria, to Lillyhall landfill site, in nearby Workington, Cumbria, in 2010.

The company faces nine charges, to be heard before Workington Magistrates Court on 12 December 2012*. Eight charges have been brought by the Environment Agency and one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

The Environment Agency charges are brought under the Radioactive Substances Act and Environmental Permitting Regulations, while the Office for Nuclear Regulation charge is brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.

The charges are:

1. SELLAFIELD LIMITED on or about the 12th day of April 2010, operated a regulated facility involving the disposal of non exempt radioactive waste at Waste Group Recycling Limited’s landfill site at Lillyhall Cumbria outside the extent authorised by an environmental permit, contrary to Regulations 12(1)(a) and 38(1)(a) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

2. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 1st day of November 2009 and the 5th day of April 2010, being a person to whom an authorisation, namely BX9838 was granted under section 13 of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 did not comply with a limitation or condition of that authorisation, namely Schedule 1 condition 4(b) of the said authorisation, in that it failed to check at an appropriate frequency, the effectiveness of systems, equipment and procedures provided for the disposal of radioactive waste, contrary to Section 32(1)(c) of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993.

3. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 6th day of April 2010 and the 19th day of April 2010, failed to comply with or contravened an environmental permit condition, namely Schedule 1 condition 4(b) of environmental permit BX9838, in that it failed to check at an appropriate frequency, the effectiveness of systems, equipment and procedures provided for the disposal of radioactive waste, contrary to Regulation 38(2) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

4. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 15th day of November 2008 and the 5th day of April 2010, being a person to whom an authorisation, namely BX9838 was granted under section 13 of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 did not comply with a limitation or condition of that authorisation, namely Schedule 1 condition 6(a) of the said authorisation, in that it failed to have a management system, organisational structure and resources in place which were sufficient to achieve compliance with the limitations and conditions of the said authorisation, contrary to Section 32(1)(c) of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993

5. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 6th day of April 2010 and the 19th day of April 2010, failed to comply with or contravened an environmental permit condition, namely Schedule 1 condition 6(a) of environmental permit BX9838, in that it failed to have a management system, organisational structure and resources in place which were sufficient to achieve compliance with the limitations and conditions of the said permit, contrary to Regulation 38(2) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

6. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 24th day of February 2010 and the 5th day of April 2010, being a person to whom an authorisation, namely BX9838 was granted under section 13 of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 did not comply with a limitation or condition of that authorisation, namely Schedule 1 condition 8 of the said authorisation, in that it failed to use Best Practicable Means when conducting measurements, tests, surveys, analysis and calculations to determine compliance with the limitations and conditions of the said authorisation, contrary to Section 32(1)(c) of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993

7. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 6th day of April 2010 and the 19th day of April 2010, failed to comply with or contravened an environmental permit condition, namely Schedule 1 condition 8 of environmental permit BX9838, in that in that it failed to use Best Practicable Means when conducting measurements, tests, surveys, analysis and calculations to determine compliance with the limitations and conditions of the said permit , contrary to Regulation 38(2) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.

8. SELLAFIELD LIMITED between 5th day of March 2009 and the 5th day of April 2010, being a person to whom an authorisation, namely BX9838 was granted under section 13 of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 did not comply with a limitation or condition of that authorisation, namely Schedule 1 condition 12(a) of the said authorisation, in that it failed to have and comply with appropriate criteria for the acceptance into service of systems, equipment and procedures for carrying out any monitoring and measurements necessary to determine compliance with the limitations and conditions of this authorisation, contrary to Section 32(1)(c) of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993.

9. SELLAFIELD LIMITED on and before the 12 April 2010 breached Regulation 5 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 in that it caused or permitted dangerous goods, namely non exempt radioactive waste, to be carried where that carriage did not comply with applicable requirements of ADR [the European agreement governing the international carriage of dangerous goods by road] whereby it committed an offence contrary to section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (‘the Act’) and is liable to a penalty pursuant to section 33(2) and Schedule 3A to the Act (as amended by section 1 of the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008).

The Environment Agency is the leading organisation for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales. It is responsible for making sure that air, land and water are looked after by today’s society, so that tomorrow’s generations inherit a cleaner, healthier world.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation is an agency of the Health and Safety Executive. It was formed on 1 April 2011 and seeks to secure the protection of people and society from the hazards of the nuclear industry by ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and by influencing the nuclear industry to create an excellent health, safety and security culture.

*The case is now scheduled for 7 February 2013