Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Sellafield Improvement Notice extended

27 January, 2017

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has granted more time to Sellafield Ltd to complete improvements to a cooling tower system, recognising the significant progress made so far.

An ONR Improvement Notice was issued to Sellafield Ltd in September 2016 requiring improvements in the management and control of Legionella in a cooling tower system at its site in Seascale, Cumbria.

Although there had been no outbreak of Legionnaires Disease, the notice requires Sellafield Ltd to improve the condition of the cooling tower to minimise the likelihood of Legionella bacteria proliferation and release.

After careful consideration of the progress made so far, and recognising the technical challenges that have come to light in completing the required improvements, the nuclear regulator agreed this week to extend the original notice until May 2017.

The stand-by cooling tower at the HALES plant is not currently in operation and therefore poses no risk to the public.

A spokesperson for the Office for Nuclear Regulation said: “Sellafield Ltd has made demonstrable improvements since we issued the legal notice in September and has completed a significant amount of work to date.

“As the cooling tower in question is not currently in operation, and therefore poses no risk to the public, it was our considered judgement that this extension will allow the further necessary improvements to be completed in a safe and sustainable manner to secure long-term, effective risk control.”

Sellafield Ltd is now obliged to complete the requirements of the Improvement Notice by 19 May, 2017.

ONR is undertaking a further investigation to determine the underlying causes surrounding the failure to meet the required legal standards in this instance. Due to this ongoing investigation, ONR will not publicly discuss any further details at this time.