• February 25, 2010

The Celtic League are continuing to press the HSE Nuclear Directorate (ND) about the monitoring of storm water outfalls at Sellafield following the unusual weather event in November 2009.

So far the ND seem reticent about commenting on events at that time (see below):

“Mike Weightman
HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations
and Director, Nuclear Directorate
4N.2 Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS


Dear Mr Weightman,

I wrote to you earlier this month asking about the monitoring of potentially polluted storm water outfalls from the Sellafield plant during the extraordinary flooding event in Cumbria in November 2009.

The query, which is clearly related to the monitoring of the safe operation of the plant was first responded to (promptly) with a holding reply and subsequently with a response from Dorothy Rimmer (Deputy/ND FOIA Officer) dated 22 February 2010 (unreferenced)


Ms Rimmer advises:

`It would appear that due to the nature of your enquiry , it would be for the Environment Agency to respond’.

I do not accept (given the substance of our query) that this is the case. Our query is directed primarily at achieving an appreciation of what you at the Nuclear Directorate do to ensure possible pollutants are not accidentally emitted from storm water outfalls at the site. If the answer to this is `nothing’ please advise accordingly.

You will be aware that unusual flooding events can prove problematic for nuclear installations, as was evidenced by the incident at Blayais in France in 2005.

Why is the Nuclear Directorate so reticent about commenting on drainage security on the Sellafield site? Is it perhaps the case that this is an area that the Nuclear Directorate have not subject to thorough scrutiny?

Finally, I would point out that the Celtic League is one of a number of organisations asked on occasion to contribute an input to `the nuclear debate’ by various UK government agencies. We always try to respond in good faith. I would expect the Nuclear Directorate to exhibit the same professional approach.

The text of our earlier letter is set out below:”

‘Ref: Cumbria flooding – November 2009

Can you advise what, if any, steps were taken to increase monitoring of storm-water outfalls from the Sellafield nuclear facility during the unprecedented rainfall in that area of Cumbria in November 2009?

Can you also advise what monitoring devices are fitted to storm-water outfalls from the site and how often these are checked?

Finally, does the Nuclear Directorate provide any specific information on, or gather data from, storm-water outfalls from Sellafield and other nuclear sites?

Yours sincerely,’

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