MEP demands EU Commission investigation into Sellafield safety scares

Molly has written to the EU Commission asking them to investigate whether the Sellafield nuclear site is in breach of an EU directive which sets out basic principles for managing spent fuel and radioactive waste and to initiate infringement proceedings if there is evidence of a clear breach of the directive.

The challenge follows an investigation by BBC Panorama broadcast earlier this week which revealed multiple safety concerns about the Sellafield Nuclear Waste Plant in Cumbria, which reprocesses and stores most of the UK’s nuclear waste. The programme suggested serious deficiencies with both emergency management arrangements and the maintenance of the site’s infrastructure. Allegations included regular staff shortages for operating the plant safely and radioactive materials, including liquid containing plutonium and uranium, being stored for years in plastic bottles designed only for temporary storage. Molly said:

“Deeply shocking revelations by Panorama show a disturbing level of complacency on the part of both Sellafield itself and the nuclear regulators. We need an urgent investigation with prosecutions to follow if there is clear evidence of any breach of EU rules. An accidental release from this site could have far-reaching and catastrophic consequences across Europe, so it is vital the Commission takes firm action.”

Molly, who is Green Party spokesperson on EU relations, went on to say:   

“There is a growing suspicion that the British government may use Brexit as an excuse to avoid its international responsibilities in a range of areas, including taxation, air pollution and environmental protection. We must resist this race to the bottom and any threat that the UK may return to being the “dirty man of Europe”. Thankfully, while we are still members, we can rely on stronger EU standards on issues such as nuclear safety that are vital for protecting human health.”