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Sellafield served with Legionella improvement notice

Nuclear site censured for cooling tower cleaning regime

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has served an Improvement Notice on Sellafield Ltd requiring improvements in the management and control of Legionella in a cooling tower system at its site in Seascale, Cumbria.

The Regulator said it will undertake a further investigation to determine the underlying causes surrounding the failure to meet the required legal standards in this instance. 

ONR said the move follows a proactive inspection of the company’s arrangements for managing the cooling tower at the Highly Active Liquid Effluent and Storage facility (HALES) on the site.

The regulator said it had determined that an Improvement Notice was necessary to ensure ’appropriate sustained and permanent improvements’ in managing the risk of Legionella. .Sellafield has already taken some short-term remedial actions.

Dr Richard Savage, Chief Nuclear Inspector, said: ‘We are here to ensure the nuclear industry meets the high standards of safety and security required by the law and will always take appropriate enforcement action where necessary. This includes management of risks to health and safety arising from Legionella’.

‘We are satisfied that this issue does not impact nuclear safety and there has been no outbreak of Legionnaires Disease. This is about requiring improvements to ensure that the risks arising from Legionella are being appropriately controlled and managed.’

The regulator said it requires Sellafield Ltd to improve the condition of the cooling tower to minimise the likelihood of Legionella bacteria proliferation and release.Under the terms of the notice, the company is obliged to complete the requirements of the Improvement Notice by 27 January 2017.

The Health and Safety Executive told delegates to last week’s H&V News Combatting Legionella conference that cleaning regimes in cooling towers was one of the key reasons for improvement notices in its recent Legionella campaign.

More from Combatting Legionella in the November issue of H&V News.

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