THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS

THE WHITEHAVEN NEWS



SUB CONTRACTORS DO HIGH-RADIATION WORK

Thursday, September 27, 2001

SUB contractors are being used by BNFL for some of the more dangerous high-radiation work in taking apart the inside of the famous WAGR "golfball" nuclear reactor core.

But BNFL insists the use of contractors is because of "resource management" and all radiation doses have been well within the five milli sieverts-a-year safety limit.

The media was invited on site to the Windscale Advanced Gas Reactor (WAGR) project on Tuesday. They heard that the 80 million project to decommission the reactor was on target and within its planned cost budget.

Engineers have been carrying out the most "challenging phase" in dismantling the high radiation "hot box" on the top of the nuclear reactor core.

The reactor was shut down in 1983. BNFL has taken on the main contract to dismantle the reactor and its 800 tonnes of highly radioactive graphite.

BNFL project manager Mark Steele explained why sub-contractors were used on the manual entries to the high radiation area.

"It is merely best resource management for one-off tasks. They are trained for specific tasks and we all have to ensure that ionising radiation legislation is complied with," he said.

"We don't use sub-contractors because it is radiation work.''