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World nuclear chief praises Sellafield progress

One of the most senior figures in the global nuclear industry has made a rare visit to Sellafield.


Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saw first-hand the progress being made in cleaning up Europe’s largest nuclear site.

It was the first visit to Sellafield by an IAEA Director General since 2001 and was arranged to coincide with Mr Grossi’s attendance to the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

He was joined by David Peattie, CEO of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), and Martin Chown, Sellafield Ltd’s Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Grossi said that know-how gathered at Sellafield was beneficial to the IAEA and to the world.

He added:

Through innovative technologies, including robotics and digitalisation, Sellafield is addressing the decommissioning and waste management challenges that are a legacy of the very first days of the nuclear age.

The NDA is sharing its skills and experiences internationally, including through the IAEA, to help countries ensure that the benefits of low-carbon nuclear energy remain safe, secure and sustainable for decades to come.

Mr Grossi viewed decommissioning progress at Sellafield’s Pile Fuel Cladding Silo, one of the site’s oldest facilities and highest priority projects, and toured Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial-scale nuclear power station.

Mr Peattie said:

This is a great opportunity to show how the UK is meeting its obligation to deal with the legacy of the earliest days of the nuclear industry, in a safe and sustainable manner.

Sellafield was a pioneer in the very early days of the nuclear industry, now it is a centre of expertise for decommissioning and waste management.

The NDA group is committed to playing a leading role in IAEA activities, as it has done for many years.

This kind of international collaboration means the valuable lessons learned at Sellafield, and across the rest of the NDA group, can be used for the benefit of the global nuclear industry.

Mr Chown said:

I was delighted to be able to show Mr Grossi the huge progress we’ve made at Sellafield in the 20 years since an IAEA director-general last visited.

We were able to demonstrate how we’re achieving our purpose to create a clean and safe environment for future generations.

Two of Mr Grossi’s predecessors have visited Sellafield in the past 30 years. Dr Hans Blix toured the site in 1982 and Dr Mohamed Elbaradei was welcomed in January 2001.

The IAEA was created in 1957 following US President Eisenhower’s ‘Atoms for Peace’ to the United Nations on 8 December 1953.

It works with member states and partners to promote the use of safe, secure, and peaceful nuclear technologies around the world.


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