THE work of Sellafield has been praised as part of a positive report on the performance of Britain's nuclear industry by regulators.

Chief Nuclear Inspector Mark Foy published his annual performance review this week, reporting that the nuclear industry has performed well overall, with required standards of safety, security and safeguarding being maintained.

Mr Foy of the Office for Nuclear Regulation, praised the industry for 'adapting well to the challenges of Covid-19 – implementing pandemic contingency plans to good effect.'

Nuclear decommissioning site Sellafield was praised in the report for its delivery of a new training facility to practice the retrieval of radioactive waste from a legacy silo.

Mr Foy said: "Our primary mission is to protect society, accomplished by a regulatory regime of inspection, assessment, and engagement.

"The pandemic challenged our normal ways of working and I was pleased with how our regulatory teams adapted, gaining assurance on the standards of safety, security and safeguards performance by the industry in new and innovative ways.

"Equally, the industry responded well to the pandemic as part of a controlled and effectively managed response that has ensured the continued safety and security of its activities, including those associated with critical national infrastructure, high-hazard legacy facilities, and the transport of radioactive materials."

Sellafield welcomed the chief inspector's comments.

Mark Neate, Sellafield’s environment, safety and security director said: “We welcome the publication of the ONR Chief Nuclear Inspector’s Report.

“It is pleasing to see our regulator acknowledge the complexity of our mission and highlight our progress in accelerating hazard and risk reduction in our legacy facilities.

“Having a mature and constructive relationship with our regulators is fundamental to our ability to remain safe, learn from our experiences, and adapt to new thinking.

“Sellafield is the UK’s most complex nuclear site. Our daily work presents substantial nuclear, environmental, radiological, chemical, and conventional safety and security challenges.

“Keeping our workforce, supply chain partners, facilities, and the environment safe and secure is a continuous pursuit that requires the focus and attention of everyone involved at Sellafield, every day.

“Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Sellafield’s operations, the company continue to make progress towards its purpose of creating a clean and safe environment for future generations.”

The chief inspector identified three key themes for the nuclear industry as a whole to take forward and improve upon: the importance of managing ageing facilities, conventional health and safety performance and a new theme: 'leadership for safety and security culture.'