• May 18, 2011


The IAEA have responded to a query from the Celtic League about the monitoring of storm water outfalls from the Sellafield site (see link):


The full text of the reply is set out below:


Subject: Monitoring of Sellafield Storm Water Drains

Dear Mr Moffatt,

I refer to your letter dated 2 April 2011 addressed to Mr Yukiya Arnano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was passed on to me for reply.In your letter you ask for the IAEA’s view on the regulatory approach taken by the United Kingdom Environment Agency regarding the monitoring of Sellafield Storm Water Drains.

Regulation of the safety of nuclear installations is a national responsibility. The IAEA develops international safety standards to assist its Member States in establishing national legal frameworks and regulatory infrastructure. An important principle is that a graded approach shall be taken to the regulatory control of radiation exposure, so that the stringency and scope of the
application of regulatory requirements is commensurate with the radiation risks associated with the exposure situation. In the case of discharges of radioactive materials to the environment this implies that monitoring and control shall beproportionate to the risks associated with the discharges. It is a national nresponsibility to decide on the monitoring and control measures.

In your letter you also ask if the Environment Agency’s stance satisfies the United Kingdom’s obligations in relation to Conventions. The United Kingdom is Contracting Party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. Every third year the United Kingdom prepares
National Reports for the Conventions and the Reports are reviewed by the other Contracting Parties, Both Reports address the United Kingdom’s regulatory approach for discharges of radioactive materials to the environment.

Yours sincerely,

Pil-Soo Hahn

Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety

cc: Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland to the IAEA”

The nature of the response is not adequate and indeed in part evasive. It seems that the IAEA presently falls short of the high standards of response and accountability set by its former Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

The Celtic League will be continuing to pursue this issue.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

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