The British Embassy in Oslo has issued an official statement responding to Norwegian criticisms about last week’s UK-Norway Sellafield Dialogue that took place in Lofoten and Oslo.
It does not view the meetings as inconclusive, arguing, “in fact, participants identified common priorities.”
“First time participants in the Dialogue warmly welcomed and in some cases expressed their surprise at the level of information exchange and co-operation that took place at the conference. The UK Nuclear Regulator fully explained an important proposed regulatory change that will allow the Sellafield operators to more quickly reduce hazardous materials at Sellafield. Participants issued a joint statement.
“The British Embassy was pleased that participants from both sides agreed on the priority to reduce the hazard from the highly active liquor (HAL) stored at Sellafield, and in that regard we thought that a positive result of the meeting was that Sellafield was able to explain their strategy to do that and respond to Norwegian questions and concerns.
“Another conclusion was the joint agreement on the need to continue to improve safety practices. Sellafield explained to Norwegian participants the results they have already achieved in that regard and the Norwegian Government has acknowledged that improvements have been made. The meeting also resulted in a better understanding of the UK Nuclear Regulator’s proposed change to the HAL regulatory requirements. This change will allow Sellafield to speed up reprocessing of existing fuel stocks that need to be handled safely and to speed up the vitrification process to render the resulting HAL into a safer state for long-term storage. The Norwegian side learned why the UK believes the specification change is the right and responsible path to provide us with what we all want --- an even safer Sellafield where hazards are eliminated as quickly and safely as possible.
“Regarding the NRPA report that has be a source of quotes in the Norwegian media, the UK Government appreciates the intention was to provide a technical assessment about potential impacts on Norway of a hypothetical incident at Sellafield. However, the UK believes it is important to recognise that the risk of the scenario outlined in the report actually happening is very remote due to the robust regulatory and safety regimes in place.”
Mark Burnett, Climate Change and Energy Policy Adviser, British Embassy Oslo.