BOMB disposal specialist have been called to the Sellafield nuclear plant to deal with a chemical incident.
The explosives experts were joined by the officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to deal with incident which involved chemicals in one of the nuclear site’s laboratories.
Buildings were evacuated as part of the operational alert and 100m exclusion was set up around the affected lab.
An area of the site is cordoned off as a precaution – but the rest of the site is operational and the majority of our staff who would be in at the weekend are at work and working normally.
A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “Following a chemical inventory audit in a laboratory, we took the decision to dispose of a number of chemicals which are no longer used in our operations and have been stored since 1992.
“In line with best practice and established procedures, we alerted the relevant partner agencies and sought advice on managing this material in accordance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations.
“This is not a radiological event.
“The chemical is contained within a small number of canisters. These need to be removed and disposed of appropriately.
“As is usual in these scenarios, a specialised unit was invited to attend the Sellafield site to assess the material and advise on its safe disposal.
“A team, from the army’s Explosives Ordinance Disposal Team, will dispose of the material safely.They will dig a trench, bury the canisters using sandbags, and detonate them in a controlled manner. This will create a noise that will be audible off-site, but there is no need for alarm.
“There chemicals involved are solvents, such as Tetrahydrofuran, which are potentially flammable in liquid states and can crystallise and become unstable when exposed to air (oxygen) Crystallisation takes a number of days.”
“The disposal of two batches of chemicals from a laboratory at Sellafield has now been safely and successfully completed.
“The army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team carried out the second of two controlled detonations at a safe location on the Sellafield site shortly before 1600.
“We have now removed the cordon from around the laboratory, and the site is working as it would be on any other Saturday.”