Toxic Culture at Sellafield Nuclear Plant: We Need the Truth

by Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott

Toxic Culture at Sellafield Nuclear Plant: We Need the Truth

by Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott
Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott
Case Owner
I have spent most of my career championing equality and fairness in the workplace. I blew the whistle because I believed serious issues at a nuclear plant were not being addressed.
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Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott
Case Owner
I have spent most of my career championing equality and fairness in the workplace. I blew the whistle because I believed serious issues at a nuclear plant were not being addressed.
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This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: June 29, 2020

Update re Tribunal Hearing 7th July 2020

Dear All,

Many of you, who have kindly donated to my crowdfunding page, have contacted me over the previous months asking for an update on my whistleblowing case against Sellafield and the NDA.  …

Read more

"Sellafield abruptly terminated my contract after I raised serious concerns about the abuse of employees working there and leaders' failure to investigate or take action. I have lodged a whistleblowing and victimisation case in the Employment Tribunal and would be grateful for your support so that the issues I unearthed come to light. Please donate and share widely with your friends and colleagues on social media. Donations can be made anonymously." Alison McDermott, Diversity Consultant


The potential dangers on the Sellafield nuclear site are obvious; an estimated 40% of the world's plutonium is stored there and a major incident would contaminate large parts of Northern Europe. It is of particular importance that a safe and secure environment is maintained.  As I discovered whilst working there, Sellafield is characterised by a deep-rooted toxic working culture with numerous reports of bullying, harassment and discrimination. 

The key objective of this crowdfunding is to raise the funds needed for a legal case. 


  1. 1 in 20 say they are being bullied or harassed.
  2. A quarter of employees say bullying and harassment are tolerated.
  3. A quarter of employees say offensive comments are tolerated.

The CEO admitted to being ashamed and embarrassed by these findings y
et the current state of Sellafield is the direct result of the decisions made by those in charge. 

In addition to the survey data, employees shared vivid stories of harassment, discrimination and bullying with me. Many said they felt too defeated or intimidated to speak out. I spoke out on their behalf and, in response, my long-term contract was abruptly terminated. 

I believe that Sellafield's retaliation sends a powerful and frightening message to its employees - don’t blow the whistle or speak out or there will be reprisals. 

The risks to the employees - and the wider public - of this kind of working culture being permitted to thrive at Sellafield are self-evident and must not be tolerated. There is a clear link between employees who are too demoralised to speak out and safety failings and the impact this can have on their own health and well-being.


After the initial unsatisfactory response from Sellafield Ltd, I raised my concerns directly with the Director of Stakeholder Relations at the parent company (the NDA). I also told him I believed I was being victimised for speaking out. 

I hoped they would respond to my concerns, particularly as they had worked closely with me and appeared to value my expertise:- 

“Alison is hugely experienced and has made a massive impact here in changing the way we look at diversity and inclusion.  Her deep technical knowledge and great personal style have delivered significant results.”   
Paul Vallance, Director of Stakeholder Relations. LinkedIn Testimonial, July 2018.

The NDA assured me they would investigate but I heard nothing further. 

I found their inaction devastating; I believed that, as a parent body, they would act to investigate and stop the retaliation against me. I was wrong. I have now exhausted every internal route and so the only option left is legal action and public scrutiny. 


Sellafield and the NDA have instructed two national law firms to oppose me, using taxpayers' money.  It is for this reason that I am exploring all funding options as justice cannot just be available for those with the deepest pockets.

Please donate if you care about the abuse of employees or the safe running of a nuclear plant.

Donations can be made anonymously via this site. I have instructed the law firm Leigh Day and your donations will help to fund this critical case.

Thank you for any support you can offer. 

A final word to the employees at Sellafield
" I have serious concerns about the way employees are treated - described by one employee as "draconian."  I heard blatant accounts of sexist, racist and homophobic behaviour which shocked me to the core. 

The employees I met placed their trust in me and shared their stories in the hope that things might change. I do not want to let them down. Finances permitting,  I will keep speaking out to make sure this wrongdoing stops and employees are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Tel: 07932 040080

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Update 5

Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott

June 29, 2020

Update re Tribunal Hearing 7th July 2020

Dear All,

Many of you, who have kindly donated to my crowdfunding page, have contacted me over the previous months asking for an update on my whistleblowing case against Sellafield and the NDA.  I have been encouraged and sustained by the number of current and former employees who have been in touch to offer me their support. This case has been ongoing since December 2018 and the hearing on 7th July marks a significant landmark in this litigation.

In brief, I have been granted a one day hearing to consider if the defences of Sellafield and the NDA should be struck out on the basis that I consider the Respondents have behaved vexatiously and unreasonably throughout this litigation. As of February, I have been representing myself after the costs became too prohibitive (having exceeded 50k), although I have appointed a barrister, Mr Chris Milsom of Cloisters Chambers, to represent me on the 7th July.

The one day strike out hearing will be held via video conferencing. In response to those  who have asked it if is possible to attend this hearing remotely, I can confirm that the Manchester Employment Tribunal has advised that the hearing is public and members of the public can dial in and observe the hearing.

Further information regards this can be obtained from the Tribunal directly.

Manchester Employment Tribunal Contact Details

Tel: 0161 833 6100

Or if calling from Norway: 0044 161 833 6100


Please mark all requests to attend/observe for the attention of Mr John Dunphy, who I understand is taking a record of those who wish to observe the proceedings and can provide further details.

I will update this site again once the outcome of the hearing is known.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Best wishes,


Tel: +44 7932 040080

Update 4

Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott

Aug. 1, 2019

First Goal Reached!

Thank you so much for helping me reach my 10k target yesterday.

I want to thank all of you who have so generously supported this cause. Many of you I know and many are unknown to me and it means so much to know that friends and strangers believe in this case and are supporting it.

As I hope I have managed to convey,  this case is about getting justice. It is about speaking out for the employees who work there, for the wider public interest and for the right to speak up and not be victimised. Your support will help me to speak up and have a voice for all these key issues.

This case is also about ensuring that leaders are held to account for their actions and inaction - not in a vindictive way but so that lessons can be learned for current and future employees. 

I am determined to keep going and press ahead and seek justice. Your support lifts me and encourages me more than words can convey.

So a simple but very heartfelt  "Thank You" from me.  


Update 3

Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott

July 16, 2019

Third Update

Thank you to everyone who has made a pledge to my campaign for justice.  Many of you I have been able to thank in person, but some of you have chosen to remain anonymous on the site but I want you ALL to know how much your support means.

I can see that some of you would like to contact me and so I am listing my details below:

Tel: 07932 040080.


Please contact me directly via these numbers.  I will maintain all confidentiality and I would like the chance to thank you for your support.

Thank you again,


Update 2

Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott

July 1, 2019

Second Update

Thank you to all of you who have donated and looked at this site. Please continue to share this page. It is of vital importance that the message gets out to as many people as possible.

We wanted  the public to know that Alison's friends are backing her.  We are a diverse a group of Norwegians, Irish and English friends supporting our friend, who we believe has been treated in the most disgraceful manner for speaking out against the abuse of employees at Sellafield

Dr Ian McDermott
Dr Frances Atkins
Professor Barrett
Professor Elliott
Reverend Jan Terje Christoffersen (amongst others)

When Alison's contract was abruptly terminated by Sellafield in October 2018, HR leaders alleged it was for unforeseen “budgetary issues.," then proceeded to award a contract to PA Consulting for 4.5 million pounds for services which included diversity consulting - the work Alison was contracted to deliver.

When Sellafield became aware that Alison was taking action against them for detriment and victimisation under whistleblowing legislation,  Sellafield is now alleging there were issues with her “manner and conduct”.   There is not a shred of written evidence to support this claim. Alison received nothing but glowing praise for the work she carried out at Sellafield and the NDA, the parent body.

Alison is determined not be silenced or intimidated, despite the stress this is causing her (she ended up in hospital with a suspected heart attack and is still undergoing further tests).

The fight is unfair with the odds hugely stacked against an individual

Sellafield Ltd and their parent body, the NDA, have access to the public purse.
Alison has to fund all the costs herself; she has already spent thousands to lodge a claim in the Employment Tribunal.  Any donation you make will go directly to her solicitors, Leigh Day, to make sure this case progresses to court and the issues are scrutinised in court. 

Please support Alison so she can speak up for others.

Alison is not just fighting for herself, she is also fighting for others. Every contribution is important.

With your help, Alison hopes to make a massive difference to so many peoples’ lives. 

Update 1

Sellafield Whistleblower - Alison McDermott

June 25, 2019

Great Start - thank you so much.

With such amazing support I have raised close to 50% of the initial target of £10k in the first 24 hours. 

It has given me an incredible boost to see contributions come in from Norwegian friends, colleagues and citizens as well as supporters in the UK.   It clearly demonstrates how important and far-reaching this campaign is.

Please continue to share this page with your friends, family and concerned colleagues so I can reach my  stretch target of £40,000 . There is still a long way to go but the early support means a huge amount and is very encouraging.

Thank you again & Tusen Takk


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