Security & Safety

Sellafield Ltd Fined £380,000 Over Plutonium Exposure Incident

By David Dalton
2 April 2019

2 Apr (NucNet): Sellafield Ltd has been fined £380,000 for safety breaches relating to equipment used for the processing of plutonium.

At a hearing on 2 April, Carlisle Crown Court heard how, on 5 February 2017, a worker at the Sellafield nuclear facility in northwest England received a puncture wound to one of his hands while working in a glovebox used to process radioactive materials.

The incident resulted in the worker receiving an intake of plutonium equal to approximately eight times the maximum legal annual exposure limit for workers in the nuclear industry.

An investigation by the Office for Nuclear Regulation found that the worker was following his employer’s system of work while cleaning a probe used as part of an alarm system. This was a difficult operation and the contaminated probe, which had corroded and become sharp, punctured his hand through a protective glove.

Sellafield Ltd, which is responsible for remediating and decommissioning the Sellafield site, pleaded guilty to offences under health and safety legislation and was fined and also ordered to pay costs of £96,000.

The Sellafield site is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a public body established in 2004 to ensure the clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy.

Sellafield comprises of a range of nuclear facilities, including redundant facilities associated with early defence work and Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station.

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