Accounting at Sellafield attacked over ‘lost’ plutonium

The accounting and reporting for British Nuclear Group Sellafield is not
sufficient to ensure that its nuclear materials are only used for peaceful
means, the European Commission has warned.

The Commission said that the procedures that are currently in place relating
to accounting and reporting did not meet the required standards.

The company was investigated after auditors found that nearly 30kg of
plutonium, enough to make several nuclear bombs, was unaccounted for at the
Sellafield complex in February of last year.

At the time the UK Atomic Energy Agency Authority said the loss was due to
‘uncertainties inherent in the measurement systems used to produce basic data’.
It added that ‘there is no evidence to suggest that any of the apparent losses
reported were real losses of nuclear material’.

However, the EC hit out at the accounting used at Sellafield, issuing a
warning to improve procedures ahead of a further assessment. It did however
acknowledge that it did not find that nuclear material was actually lost.

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