Additional information to Press release issued on Wednesday 11 May 2005

Date released: May 13 2005

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) was advised today by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in the UK that the recent incident at the THORP reprocessing plant on the Sellafield site has been rated as a Level 3 incident on the seven-step International Nuclear Event Scale.

The incident has been notified to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna and information about the event is available on the IAEA's website on

The rating for the incident, which is described as a serious incident, is on the basis that it resulted in the release of several thousand terabecquerels of activity into a secondary containment where the material can be returned to a satisfactory storage area.

The information about the incident supplied to the IAEA confirms the information already supplied to the Institute by the UK regulators on the 21st April last. It remains the Institute's view that the incident poses no danger to Ireland but that, in the longer term, the closure of THORP may impact on the schedule for the completion of the current reprocessing contracts in 2010.

The INES International Nuclear Event Rating Scale (INES) INES is a scale to put incidents and accidents in nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations into perspective, explaining in simple terms their significance and relative importance to the public. The INES range is from Level 1 (anomaly) through Level 7 (major accident). Deviations of no safety significance are Level 0.