News story

Nuclear security mission to Sellafield and Barrow completed

A team of nuclear security experts led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has visited the UK to assess civil nuclear security …

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A team of nuclear security experts led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has visited the UK to assess civil nuclear security arrangements. This follows a commitment made in advance of President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010.

The International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Mission assessed the UK’s laws and regulations around nuclear material and nuclear facilities. The Mission Team also assessed compliance with the International Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and the IAEA’s guidelines on nuclear security.

The Mission Team visited the Sellafield civil nuclear site and Barrow port, which is used for the transport of civil nuclear material, to see first-hand how these measures are implemented in practice.

The IAEA concluded the state of civil nuclear security is sufficiently robust. This is both in the context of the legal and regulatory framework and how this is implemented at the Sellafield site and the Barrow port.

Lord Marland of Odstock, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said:

“We are the first nuclear weapons state to open its doors to the international experts to assess our civil nuclear security regime.

“This shows the world our commitment to nuclear security and to learning from others. I encourage other countries to follow suit and invite the IAEA to carry out such a mission.

“I am grateful for the work of the IAEA and this report from the IPPAS Mission Team, who identified many examples of good practice within the civil nuclear security regime and a number of valuable recommendations and suggestions.

“We will work with the nuclear regulator, Sellafield Ltd and the NDA to use this report to ensure that we continue to develop and improve our security regime.”

Notes for editors

  1. Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed the commitment made by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who had invited an IAEA IPPAS mission to Sellafield as part of the UK’s approach to the President Obama-led Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington in April 2010.
  2. The objectives of this IPPAS Mission to the UK were to assess the UK’s legal and regulatory framework on the physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities and its compliance with IAEA guidelines, and to see how these measures are implemented at the Sellafield site and at Barrow for the transport of nuclear material.
  3. The Mission Team’s work has resulted in a ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ report that contains site-specific information and, for reasons of national security, cannot be made publicly available. However, certain information can be anonymised and used to good effect by being shared and used by the IAEA to develop even better ‘best practice’ worldwide.
  4. About 60 IPPAS Missions, over 15 years, have been carried out across the world and all recipients have benefitted from this international advice. UK nuclear security experts from the Office for Nuclear Regulation have been involved in about 20 of these missions.
  5. The IPPAS Mission to the UK included representatives from eight different member states (Netherlands, US, Canada, France, Slovenia, Germany, Lithuania and Sweden) with a range of expertise in the various areas related to nuclear security, for example legislative and regulatory practices, physical protection, personal and information security, transport security, security management and culture, policing, and contingency planning.
Published 28 October 2011