Joint Statement InfoArena 2014 - meeting point London

Arrangører fra venstre: Robbie Huston - Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Nils Bøhmer - Bellona, Jeanette Stokes - Sellafield Ltd., biskop Tor Berger Jørgensen, Per-Kaare Holdal - Lofoten mot Sellafield, Rex Strong - Sellafield Ltd.


Sellafield: a better understanding through dialogue (2001-2014)


Guardians of our Common Seas, Bellona, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Sellafield Ltd have held their 10th conference on nuclear waste and safety, 21 November 2014.  The conference was again chaired by bishop Tor B. Jørgensen.

The conference was attended by representaives of:

- Venstre (Norwegian Social Liberal Party) - Arne Ivar Mikalsen
- Norwegian Parliament/Nordic Council - Per Rune Henriksen, Labour Party
- regulators of Norway - NRPA and  the UK – ONR
- the Sellafield site owners and strategic body the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the parent body organisation Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) and the management of Sellafield Ltd.
- the Governments of the UK (DECC and FCO) and Norway (MFA)
- Bellona and Guardians of our Common Seas

The conference  focused on Sellafield in the context of the UK's energy programme, the risks accociated with the site, the strategy and progress being made to reduce those risks with oversight of ONR and participation, in discussion, of NRPA.

The risk posed by storage of highly active liquor (HAL) at Sellafield is the primary focus of this and previous conferences.  Reports were given by Sellafield Ltd on the progress being made in reducing the HAL stocks and operational performance of the Thorp and Magnox reprocessing plants, which contribute substantially to the production of HAL. The conference heard that although there is currently good operational performance and the reduction programme is ahead of scedule, the buffer levels/steady state set by ONR will not be reached by 2015.  The expectation now is that the level will be achieved in 2016.  This is because of a twelve month closure of Vitrification Line 3.

Adrian Simper Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Director for Strategy said,

«We welcome the continued dialogue and recognise the legitimate interest of our Nordic neighbours. Reduction in risk and hazard is core to the NDA's mission. Our priority is the high hazard facilities at Sellafield and the reduction of HAL stocks.  We continue to make progress.  HAL stocks are now at their lowest level for decades and are a third of the quantity in 2001 when ths dialogue began.»

The conference heard the concern and views of the Nordic representatives.

Arne Ivar Mikalsen, Nordland representative of Venstre, Norway’s Social Liberal Party expressed his concern about an accident at Sellafield that could have impact on Norway.

«Nordland, is the home of the world largest cod fisheries which is so vital the local and national economy. Potentially of equal importance is the resource that the seabed may offer in future.  It is my duty to ensure that the sea is protected for many generations to come.  I participate in these conference to gain an understanding and seek assurances about the risks from Sellafield.»

 The continued dialogue through these conferences has been an important tool for building trust and confidence and has the endorsement of the UK and Norwegian Governments.

Rene McTaggert, DECC commented,

«This was another productive conference where information was freely exchanged and discussed. The continued cooperation of all parties in arranging and engaging in InfoArena is an important element of the constructive dialogue between the UK and the Nordic countries.»

On behalf of the Norwegian Government Ragnhild Imerslund, Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Norwegian Embassy said,

«The Embassy is very pleased to participate at InfoArena 2014. I would like to thank Bellona, the Guardian of our Common Seas, Sellafield Ltd and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for organising this conference.  InfoArena 2014 provides an excellent opportunity for different stakeholders to share information about plans and developments at Sellafield and discuss our common concerns. The conference title says it all; through informed dialogue, we can build understanding and trust. You should all be proud of the concrete results that you have achieved during these 11 years.»

Per-Kaare Holdal from Guardians of our Common Seas said

«Our concern has been our common seas and we are pleased with the progress we have achieved in the past.  But I would have hoped for more progress in reducing the hazard from HAL stocks.»

Nils Bøhmer from Bellona: said:

«The fact that the HAL stock reduction to a steady state level has been delayed by 12 months demonstrates the importance of being able to raise our concers through continued dialogue.»

It was agreed that the dialogue will continue in order to maintain the productive relationships between Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd., Bellona and Guardians of our Common Seas.  It is important transparency and an understanding of developments at the site are maintained.  To ensure that this happens  progress meetings will continue on a regular basis.  This will enable politicans, experts and communities to continue positive engagement on reduction of risks and progress at Sellafield, and in particular Thorp.

It was agreed that the next InfoArena should take place during the summer of 2016 in the Lofoten Islands.  The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Bellona and Guardians of our Common Seas will jointly organise the conference and seek the cooperation of both governments.

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