The Guardian has revealed a cybersecurity breach at Sellafield, a nuclear site, involving Russian and Chinese groups.
This breach, not previously disclosed by senior staff, has sparked concerns about potential impacts on vital operations, particularly the safe management of radioactive waste.
Initial breaches detected in 2015 cast doubt on whether the harmful software has been entirely removed, according to the report.
A spokesperson from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero told ELN: “We expect the highest standards of safety and security as former nuclear sites are dismantled, and the regulator is clear that public safety is not compromised at Sellafield.
“Many of the issues raised are historical and the regulator has for some time been working with Sellafield to ensure necessary improvements are implemented. We are expecting regular updates on how this progresses.
“We have zero-tolerance of bullying, harassment and offensive behaviour in the workplace – we expect Sellafield and the CNC to operate on this basis, investigate allegations and take robust action.”
An Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) spokesperson told ELN: “As the independent regulator, we have been open about our concerns over shortfalls in a number of areas at Sellafield which is why they are under significantly enhanced regulatory attention.
“There are also complex ‘legacy’ waste issues, dating back many decades, which require enhanced regulatory attention, and will do for years to come.
“We have been clear that there are areas where improvements are required to achieve the high standards of safety and security we expect to see, but there is no suggestion that this is compromising public safety.
“We will continue to hold Sellafield Ltd to account to ensure these improvements are made through a range of regulatory action and enforcement, including matters which are subject to an ongoing investigation process.
“With new leadership in place at Sellafield Ltd, we have seen positive signs of improvement in recent months but will continue to apply robust regulatory scrutiny as necessary to ensure the ongoing safety of workers and the public.”
An ONR spokesperson added: “Sellafield Ltd is currently not meeting the high standards that we require in cyber security which is why we have placed them under significantly enhanced attention.
“Some specific matters are subject to an ongoing investigation process, so we are unable to comment further at this time.”