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Improvement notice issued for Sellafield cooling towers

28 September 2016

An improvement notice has been issued by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) after it inspected the Sellafield Highly Active Liquid and Effluent Storage facility.

This was issued due to concerns over the management and control of legionella bacteria within the facility's cooling tower system, according to North-West Evening Mail.

It was reported that Sellafield had undertaken remedial action, but the ONR notice was deemed necessary to ensure the improvement measures were continued.

A statement from chief nuclear inspector Dr Richard Savage said the ONR was satisfied that there had been no impact on nuclear safety or any outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

"This is about requiring improvements to ensure that the risks arising from legionella are being appropriately controlled and managed," said Dr Savage.

Improvements to the Sellafield cooling tower system was required to reduce the likelihood of legionella bacteria generation or release.

The ONR notice requires Sellafield to implement the improvements by 27 January 2017.

A further investigation will be conducted by the ONR to determine how the facility failed to meet its required legal standards.

A Sellafield statement issued in response to the improvement notice said the site's cleaning procedure "wasn’t as robust as it should have been and we have already started work on an improvement plan.

"The age and nature of the Sellafield site means that some of our facilities are more difficult to maintain than they might be elsewhere, but that is not an excuse."

Sellafield said: "We will learn from this and implement our improvement plan promptly."

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