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Brussels, 15 February 2006

European Commission issues nuclear safeguard obligations warning to British Nuclear Group Sellafield

The European Commission has today issued a formal warning against British Nuclear Group Sellafield (BNG SL). Under the Euratom Treaty, the European Commission has the task of ensuring that accounting and administrative procedures are in place to ensure that nuclear materials in possession of companies operating nuclear facilities in the EU are not diverted from the peaceful uses for which they have been declared.

The Commission has found that the accounting and reporting procedures presently in place at BNG SL do not fully meet Euratom standards. This decision results from a series of inspections carried out by Commission inspectors at the Sellafield plant.

The Commission has decided to issue a warning provided for in Article 83 (1) (a) of the Euratom Treaty. It has also requested BNG SL to implement the appropriate remedies within periods specified in the decision and to ensure the adequate quality of its system of accounting for nuclear material. After this period the Commission will determine whether this standard has been met.

The Sellafield site is one of the largest nuclear engineering centres in the world, hosting a large array of nuclear installations and managed by the British Nuclear Group (BNG, formerly British Nuclear Fuels Limited or BNFL).

The decision is limited to issues of the adequacy of the accounting and reporting procedures presently in place at BNG SL. It does not find that nuclear material was actually lost or diverted from its intended purpose and does not concern the issue of nuclear safety.

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