Whitehaven News

The Whitehaven News


Thursday, March 08, 2001

BNFL has had an official pat on the back from the Government's Health and Safety Executive over the way it is cleaning up its Sellafield act.

It has been praised for showing "vigour and commitment" in tackling a range of issues raised by the HSE's three critical reports about operations at Sellafield.

One centred on the investigation into the falsification of Mox fuel data which led to the sacking of four process workers and the resignation of the company's then chief executive, John Taylor.

Another followed concerns over the rise in Sellafield radiation incidents, the subsequent investigation highlighting failings in control and supervision of operations which led to poor safety performance.

The third report was into high level radioactive waste and the need for BNFL to cut stocks of it held at Sellafield.

On this, BNFL has met all 22 of the HSE's recommendations as well as putting in a new safety case for storage of the potentially dangerous liquid, an agreed programme of stock reduction and proposals for engineering improvements.

All 15 of the MOX recommendations have also been met, but the demonstration plant in which fuel data was faked will only be allowed to start on the say-so of the nuclear installations inspectorate and after BNFL has submitted a safety report for re-opening.

Systematic management failure is blamed officially for allowing process workers to falsify the fuel records.

The rise in Sellafield incidents led to Sellafield's biggest safety review and HSE reports good progress on most of the 28 recommendations, although only three have been fully completed.

These will take longer due to the time in implementing changes.

Laurence Williams, the chief inspector for nuclear installations, said: "This has been a highly challenging year for BNFL and our inspectors. A considerable amount of work has been undertaken but more remains to be done."