Nuclear accident uncovered by FOI request

A report produced by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), which was obtained under an FOI request by the Green Party MSP, Chris Ballance, has highlighted serious flaws in safety procedures at Torness nuclear power station.

An accident at the power station in 2002 led to one of the reactors being shut down for over six months at a cost of £25 million to British Energy. Ballance has accused the nuclear industry of trying to "whitewash" the seriousness of the incident: "This was a major accident caused by incompetence, attempts to cut costs and a disregard of health and safety training. We are very lucky that the damage did not spread to the nuclear reactor core."

The accident was described at the time by British Energy as simply being "vibration problems". The NII report criticised managers at Torness for staff cutbacks, "ignorance", "communication problems" and failing to give a high priority to safety.

Major safety flaws uncovered at Torness plant (Sunday Herald, 26 June 2005)