The Government plans to assemble a team of international nuclear experts to assist in its ongoing legal battle to close the Sellafield reprocessing plant at Cumbria.

The development comes as the Attorney General, Rory Brady, described the safety culture at Sellafield as ‘lamentable’ during a lecture at Harvard University in the United States.

Mr Brady said the Government would continue to use all political, legal and diplomatic avenues to secure the safe decommissioning of the plant, in part, because of the risks posed by accidents or terrorist attacks.

Earlier this week, the European Commission issued a formal warning against British Nuclear Group - formerly British Nuclear Fuels - over shortcomings in the way it accounts and reports on nuclear material held at Sellafield.

A spokesman said the matter was viewed as 'very serious' in Brussels, and the company now had four months to rectify the problems identified by EU inspectors.