Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East has called on the European Commission and Irish government to ensure that the UK carries out a complete safety audit on Sellafield Nuclear Plant.

Voluntary stress tests on Europe’s nuclear facilities began earlier this month and will examine the resilience of nuclear installations to terrorist attacks and natural disasters. 

Speaking in the European Parliament during a debate on Nuclear Safety in Neighbouring countries Aylward stated that:

“These tests are of the utmost importance in order to evaluate safety standards, assess risks, pre-empt possible disasters and alleviate the concerns of European citizens.”

However the UK authorities have recently confirmed that Sellafield, based less than a few hundred kilometres from the Irish coast will not be subject to these tests.

The Ireland East MEP, voicing the concerns of Irish citizens at the lack of action from the UK authorities to the potential threat posed by Sellafield to Ireland, said that:

“The response of the British authorities, stating that the plant is exempt as it no longer generates power, does not give much assurance to the Irish citizens that would be directly affected in the event of an accident.”

“As a close neighbour, Ireland is exposed to significant risk to due to the location of active and inactive nuclear facilities along with west coast of the UK.  Sellafield being the most well known of these and the location of several nuclear incidents and a serious nuclear leak as recently as 2005.”

“In the wake of crisis in Japan, the Commission and the Irish government have a responsibility to ensure that no risks are tolerated in relation to nuclear safety.  Irish citizens should not be put at risk because agreement cannot be reached on a technicality.”