Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Response to BBC report re Sellafield, 10 March 2021

10 March, 2021

We are aware of this BBC report relating to Sellafield and are naturally concerned to hear these claims, particularly any suggestion that staff have been subjected to racist abuse of any kind.

As a regulator, if we had any concerns or evidence that bullying and harassment was impacting safety at the site, we would take robust action to ensure this is addressed as a matter of urgency.

The BBC report contains allegations of racism and some other issues that we’ve not previously been made aware of and we will be following these up with Sellafield Ltd, and will consider any matters within our regulatory remit.

We have ongoing interventions in place to scrutinise leadership and culture at Sellafield. In particular we continue to track Sellafield Ltd’s improvements in response to staff surveys and progress on their transformation plan.

We routinely talk with people on the site, including nominated safety representatives and Trade Union staff, including discussions held in recent months. No matters relating to racism, bullying or harassment have been raised with us in these discussions and we have not discovered or been made aware of any concerns of this nature during our recent interventions at the site.

Sellafield is the most closely regulated nuclear site in Britain and we undertake several hundred inspections and engagements every year to ensure it meets the high standards of safety and security required by law.

We have previously been in contact with Ms McDermott and other individuals alleging various concerns about cultural issues at the Sellafield site. We take any such matters seriously and every allegation has been followed up by our inspectors using the information and evidence available.

To date we have found no issues that have resulted in unsafe activities at the site or evidence which identifies that Sellafield is not complying with the laws under our regulatory responsibility.

As a regulator, we welcome evidence and intelligence from any individuals which can support our safety regulation and protect workers and the public. To this this end, our door remains open and if any individual has evidence of bullying and harassment at Sellafield with potential links to safety, we would like to hear from them.