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No change to nuclear transport rules following accident down under, says regulator

in Western Australia.

The Office of Nuclear Regulation is responsible for oversight of operators transporting nuclear materials in the UK, and the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s report from October 2022 recorded 69 incidents related to nuclear transport in the reporting period. Two of these involved lost radioactive packages.

In response to the Western Australian accident, Richard Bramhall, of the Low-Level Radiation Campaign, told the NFLA: ‘The company is to be criticised for appalling practice since the gauge itself came apart and the packaging came apart and the vehicle was inadequate to contain the outcome of those failures.’

The NFLA and Dr Jill Sutcliffe, joint Chair of the NGA Forum of the Office of Nuclear Regulation, sent an FOI request to the ONR with their concerns. The ONR’s response is shown below as, whilst it contains no commitment to procedural changes, it has useful detailed guidance on the regulatory regime that applies to the transport of nuclear materials and links to reports.

The NFLA also wrote to senior executives at Rio Tinto PLC, the mining conglomerate that lost the caesium capsule, asking the company to issue a statement outlining how procedures would be tightened up to avoid another accident and whether Rio Tinto would fully reimburse the local authorities for the cost of recovering the capsule. Despite a reminder being sent urging the executives to respond, no reply has so far been received. 25 Apr 23


April 27, 2023 - Posted by | safety, UK

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