This latest fine is additional to the £2 million fine levied on BNG Sellafield in August by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority over the same incident. This fine was imposed in the form of deductions from money that the Authority pays Sellafield.
After the hearing at Carlisle Crown Court, Dr. Mike Weightman, the HSE's Director of Nuclear Safety and HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, commented:
"Our extensive investigation into the events in THORP has shown that British Nuclear Group Sellafield Limited fell significantly short of the required standards for a considerable period of time before the leak was discovered. Although we stress that there is no evidence of any harm to workers or the public, the leak being contained within a stainless steel lined, heavily shielded cell, there had been a significant prolonged reduction in attention to the high standards demanded, something we are not prepared to tolerate.
"THORP was Sellafield's flagship plant and built to high standards. It must also be operated, maintained and managed to the high standards we insist on, and the public have a right to expect from the nuclear industry.
"For the wider nuclear industry, our message is clear: high standards are demanded of the nuclear industry, this means continued vigilance and close attention to maintaining all the multiple physical and administrative barriers put in place to protect people and society from highly radioactive material."It is not acceptable to allow any of these barriers to degrade and weaken, relying on the existence of other barriers to secure continued protection. Industry must continue to embrace high standards of design, construction, operation and maintenance and vigorously strive to maintain them at all times."