THE BRITISH authorities have decided to exclude the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria from an imminent round of stress tests on European nuclear installations.

The move comes despite indications to Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan from British energy secretary Chris Huhne that the stress tests would include Sellafield.

Voluntary tests on Europe’s 143 nuclear reactors follow the Fukushima nuclear emergency in Japan, which raised questions as to whether previous safety audits were thorough enough.

The tests, which begin next month, will examine the resilience of nuclear installations to earthquakes, tsunamis, air crashes and human error. A group will also be set up to deal with the risk of any terrorist attack on a nuclear plant.

“The answer is no,” said a British government spokeswoman in Brussels when asked whether Sellafield would be examined.

She explained the decision by saying the plant is now engaged in nuclear fuel reprocessing and no longer generates power. “It’s just for existing generation sites,” she said of the tests.

previously the British told the Irish they would include it. See