Letter: Sellafield lapses

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your article ("Crisis talks after Sellafield safety alert", 15 September) and leader ("The nuclear industry must answer some tough questions") about BNFL's MOX fuel operations cannot go unchallenged.

We never "take shortcuts" or "play fast and loose" with safety, nor would we ever allow a commercial or production imperative to encourage unsafe working. Safety is our number one priority and always will be.

Representatives of our customers are visiting the plant to inspect our data and quality assurance (QA) procedures in order to satisfy themselves that our fuel and systems are of the quality they should expect. It is quite ridiculous to describe this as "crisis talks". It should also be borne in mind that these irregularities came to light as a result of BNFL's own QA procedures.

The falsification of data at the heart of this story is not a safety issue, but one of quality assurance.