A NUCLEAR material supplier near Ellesmere Port has been served with an improvement notice by the industry’s regulator after failing to comply with transport rules.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued the enforcement action to Urenco UK Ltd (UUK) – based in Capenhurst – after carrying out inspections related to a request from UUK to validate a package design used for the transport of enriched uranium.

UUK was adjudged to have not undertaken sufficient checks before shipping to ensure that the correct legal requirements and competent authority approvals had been met.

ONR served the improvement notice on UUK under The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.

There were no consequences to the public or the environment as a result of these shortfalls.

Nick Blackburn, Principal Inspector from ONR's Transport Competent Authority, said:

“We identified a series of shortfalls relating to this international transport of packages containing enriched uranium.

“All companies involved in the transport of Class 7 dangerous goods, including all sub-contractors within a scheduled operation, must ensure their legal provisions to provide this service are compliant with current legislation.

“We will engage with Urenco UK Ltd during the period of the improvement notice to ensure positive progress is made to address the shortfalls.”

UUK has until 31 May to comply with the improvement notice by reviewing its management system to ensure that the legal provisions are met before each shipment of any package transporting Class 7 dangerous goods.

A spokesperson for Urenco UK Ltd said: "Due to a series of bad weather events over December, there was a delay in the transportation of cylinders containing a small quantity of uranic material from the port in Liverpool to Urenco’s site in Capenhurst near Chester.

"Due to the delay, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was requested to validate a package design used for transporting enriched uranium.

"As part of the process, the ONR have issued an improvement notice regarding the transportation of the cylinders to the Capenhurst site. We are working with ONR to ensure that the requirements of this notice are met and reviewing our transportation processes for future shipments.

"Public safety and security and the safe transportation of uranic material are our top priorities. Public safety and security and the safe transportation of uranic material are our top priorities. The material is currently being stored safely and securely, prior to transportation back to site."