A suspect waste discharge pipe at the plant has been taken out of service, and contaminated water has had to be been removed and disposed of. Government safety watchdogs have carried out an inspection and are being kept informed of investigations.
The radiation leak was detected on 11 February and disclosed to a meeting of the Torness local liaison committee on 19 March. Though the amount of radioactivity involved is said to be small, there are growing concerns that the ageing 27-year-old nuclear plant could develop more serious problems.
According to the French state company that runs Torness, EDF Energy, radioactive tritium was discovered in water contained in sumps that are part of the site drainage system. The discovery was immediately reported to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
“Subsequent checks showed that the levels of tritium found in the sump water posed no risk,” said an EDF Energy spokesman. “The water in the sumps was safely removed and disposed of via the authorised discharge routes. The sumps are sealed, preventing an unauthorised discharge to the environment.”