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98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/109

(98/C 102/157) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2747/97

by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Incident at the Sellafield nuclear complex, Cumbria, Britain

On June 19 1997 last an incident occurred in one of the ageing Magnox reactors at Calder Hall, Sellafield,

According to the company which runs Sellafield, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), a control rod was lowered
further than required into the reactor core during ‘switching operations’. Reactor power then dropped below
15 MW and, BNFL said, the reactor was automatically switched off.

Have BNFL and/or the British authorities informed the Commission of this incident? If so, what information did
they provide the Commission with? What action has the Commission taken and/or what action does it propose to

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(23 September 1997)

The Commission has not received any official information related to the event at Calder Hall from organisations
in the United Kingdom. The British safety authorities are responsible for the licensing of nuclear power
installations and they guarantee the respect of the safety and practices in the United Kingdom.

However, enquiries have shown that the event has been rated as ‘level O’ on the International nuclear event scale
(INES) established at the International atomic energy agency (IAEA) and hence is judged to have no safety

(98/C 102/158) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2750/97

by Kyösti Virrankoski (ELDR) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Farm inspections

Commission representatives carry out inspections on farms where, together with the national authorities, they
check whether the areas in receipt of EU agricultural support have been correctly notified.

The behaviour of these inspectors prompts, however, a number of questions. Is it right for inspectors to descend
on a farm on the farmer’s 50th birthday as has, for example, happened in Finland? It is also claimed that
inspectors have banned press photographers from taking pictures of them.

Do the normal rules of politeness and courtesy apply to farm inspectors or are they displaying the features of a
totalitarian state when carrying out their work?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(23 September 1997)

In the absence of more precise details, it is not possible to reply specifically to the points raised. However, the
general issues raised can be addressed.

Commission representatives inspect farms in conjunction with the national control authorities in order to observe
and evaluate national control procedures. Farms to be visited by the Commission are often selected at random
and normally inspections would be curtailed only in the event of unforeseen circumstances likely to cause
particular hardship to the farmer or his animals. Likewise, inspections should be carried out as announced but
some flexibility (i.e. postponement by a day or two) may be permissible if the farmer justifiably claims that the
timing of the inspection is inconvenient.