An enforcement notice has been served to Sellafield after shortfalls in its fire alarm and detection systems were found.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) served this to Sellafield Ltd after an inspection at the First-Generation Magnox Storage Pond facility (FGMSP).

The FGMSP is one of the site’s four legacy pond and storage facilities.

Safely decommissioning these buildings as part of a hazard and risk reduction programme is of focus.

The facility was constructed in the 50s as part of the nation’s expanding nuclear programme at the time.

Its role was to receive and store irradiated fuel from Magnox reactors and to remove the fuel classing before fuel was processed.

The FGMSP was built as an open-air pond, and over the years it’s accumulated significant quantities of waste materials, sludges from corrosion of fuel cladding, fuel fragments and other debris which has blown into the pond and skips of fuel.

ONR fire safety inspections discovered the shortfalls, leading to Sellafield taking the decision to suspend operations at the FGMSP.

Sellafield also introduced enhanced fire monitoring surveillance and has restricted all non-essential personnel from entering the facility.

The ONS said there were no consequences for the public or environment because of these issues.

Kulvinder McDonald, ONR superintending inspector, said: “The enforcement notice requires Sellafield Ltd to either replace or repair the fire alarm and detection system in the FGMSP facility.

“We will engage with Sellafield Ltd during the period of the enforcement notice to ensure positive progress is made to address the shortfalls identified.”

The notice requires that Sellafield Ltd makes the necessary improvements by February 28, 2023.

The ONR enforcement action relates to contraventions under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

A spokesperson from Sellafield said: “Following an engineering review in early November, the FGMSP fire detection system was deemed to be inadequate.

“All operations were halted, non-essential personnel restricted from entering the building, and enhanced surveillance carried out while maintenance and repair of the system took place.

“We’ve now worked through a recovery plan with ONR to bring the facility back into operation in a phased approach.

“This included fixing the faults and enhancing other measures like fire risk assessments and enhanced access controls.

“Meanwhile, we’ve launched an investigation to understand the root cause of the issue.

“There have been no safety-related incidents or issues as a result of this.”