Industry

Sellafield: Europe’s most toxic nuclear site – podcast


The Guardian has found that the UK’s most hazardous nuclear site, Sellafield, has been hacked into by cyber groups closely linked to Russia and China, as well as uncovering other safety concerns. Reporters Anna Isaac and Alex Lawson tell Michael Safi about the Guardian’s investigation.

A Sellafield spokesperson said: “We take cybersecurity extremely seriously at Sellafield. All of our systems and servers have multiple layers of protection. Critical networks that enable us to operate safely are isolated from our general IT network, meaning an attack on our IT system would not penetrate these.

“Over the past 10 years, we have evolved to meet the challenges of the modern world, including a greater focus on cybersecurity. We’re working closely with our regulator. As a result of the progress we’ve made, we have an agreed route to step down from ‘significantly enhanced’ regulation.”

The Office for Nuclear Regulation confirmed that Sellafield was failing to meet its cyber standards but declined to comment on the breaches, or claims of a “cover-up”. A spokesperson said: “Some specific matters are subject to ongoing investigations, so we are unable to comment further at this time.”

After publication of the Guardian’s investigation, Sellafield and the ONR said they had no records to suggest Sellafield’s networks had been successfully attacked by state actors in the way the Guardian described, and published a range of public responses on gov.uk.

Also, in the podcast, Samanth Subramanian tells Michael about visiting Sellafield on a reporting trip to understand the complex task of decommissioning the site.



Sellafield, with cows

Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

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