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Concerns, whistleblowing and complaints

Concerns, whistleblowing (protected disclosures), or complaints about the nuclear industry, can be raised at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future. They can be raised by completing an online form (via the links below), with an ONR site inspector, or by post:

ONR Policy Team
4S.3 Redgrave Court
Merton Road, Bootle
L20 7HS


A concern would usually be a result of having been involved in or witnessed an incident, or becoming aware of an issue that has or could affect nuclear safety or security and has the potential to cause, or actually has led to harm to the public. It can sometimes be difficult to decide what constitutes a concern. They should not be confused with a personal grievance or complaint that does not have the potential to cause harm to the general public. Concerns can be raised by anyone and relate to a wrongdoing in a workplace in relation to a matter that ONR regulates (nuclear safety, nuclear security, radioactive materials transport, safeguards or health and safety on a nuclear site).

Whistleblowing (Protected Disclosures)

ONR is a ‘prescribed person’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998’ for the purpose of receiving “protected disclosures” (whistleblowing) from the nuclear industry and is responsible for considering and, if appropriate, acting on the information. Whistleblowers are protected by law. Whistleblowing is a term used when a worker (ex/employee, independent contractor, agency worker or trainee) passes on information concerning wrongdoing typically, although not necessarily, in the workplace. The wrongdoing disclosed must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others e.g. the general public and show that one or more of the following has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur:

  • A criminal offence (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud);
  • a breach of a legal obligation;
  • a miscarriage of justice;
  • danger to the health or safety of any individual;
  • damage to the environment; or
  • the deliberate covering up of wrongdoing in any of the above categories.

Personal grievances (e.g. bullying, harassment, discrimination) aren’t covered by whistleblowing law, unless the particular case is in the public interest.

As a prescribed person, we can look into a protected disclosure pertaining to a matter we regulate (insofar as our statutory functions (Energy Act 2013; Part 3) permit), and recommend how an employer could rectify certain issues.

If we find evidence of an enforceable breach in relation to our statutory powers, we may be able to take action. We will make risk-based decisions when deciding what action to take, in accordance with our published policies, procedures and guidance, including our Enforcement Policy Statement PDF.
If ONR is not the responsible authority, we will help you identify who is.

You can make a protected disclosure to ONR (‘blow the whistle’) by completing an online form using the link provided below.


ONR’s complaints process is about ONR or the services it provides. It is not for making complaints about the companies ONR regulates. These should be reported as a concern.

Complaints originate from outside ONR and are about any aspect of ONR’s work where it is perceived that ONR may not have done its job properly.