The operators of the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield are to face court charges after dumping bags of radioactive waste at a public landfill site.
The Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear Regulation confirmed today that Sellafield Limited, which manages waste on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is to be prosecuted over the “waste disposal incident”.
It follows an extensive investigation into how bags of radioactive waste, which contained paper, plastic, clothing and wood, from the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria,were sent to Lillyhall in Workington, instead of to the nearby Drigg nuclear waste dump.
It was reported at the time that monitoring equipment failed to properly identify the bags as containing low-level radioactive waste and all the bags were retrieved and returned to Sellafield.
Sellafield Ltd, which is responsible for around 70% of the UK's higher radioactive waste, reported the 2010 incident to the Environment Agency at the time.
The regulators’ joint action, confirmed today will be heard at Workington Magistrates Court on December 12.
The company faces nine charges, eight charges have been brought by the Environment Agency and one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
The Environment Agency charges are brought under the Radioactive Substances Act and Environmental Permitting Regulations, while the Office for Nuclear Regulation charge is brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.
In a statement, Sellafield Ltd, said: "The Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have summoned us to attend Workington Magistrate’s Court in relation to offences arising from the consignment of waste bags to Lillyhall in April 2010. As this matter is subject to court proceedings we are unable to comment further at this stage."