Sellafield alert caused by naturally occurring background radon

Sellafield alert caused by naturally occurring background radon


Sellafield Ltd have confirmed that the radioactivity detected by one of their in-air monitors overnight is not attributable to any issue or problem with any of the operations on site.

A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “Our in-air monitors are extremely sensitive and pick up on any abnormality. Overnight the monitoring system initially indicated elevated levels of activity. Following investigation and analysis, we can now confirm these levels to be naturally occurring background radon.

“The number one priority for us is, at all times, safe secure stewardship of the Sellafield site, which is the most complex and challenging nuclear site in Europe.

“As such we act in a safety conscious manner, and take cautious, conservative decisions, such as the one taken overnight to ask non-safety essential staff to stay at home this morning, rather than come to the site.

“All of our plants and storage facilities were quickly confirmed as operating normally, and we were always confident that the issue posed no risk to the workforce or public because the levels being detected, whilst above background radiation levels, were still low. This view was reinforced by the fact that none of our other installed monitors were picking up any kind of increased levels – however, we take such issues so seriously that we investigated fully to confirm that everything was okay.

“Standard weekend working operations will continue, with day staff due back in on Monday as normal.”

Prospect, the union for 5,000 nuclear specialists at the Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria, says the elevated radiation readings reported today (Friday) are within acceptable limits and are not a danger to human health or to the plant.

Prospect national secretary Gill Wood Said: “Higher than normal radiation readings have been detected at one monitor at a perimeter fence. As a precaution, non-essential staff have been advised to stay at home today while the relevant specialist team investigates.

“The company’s decision to partially close some areas at the site is a pre-cautionary and measured decision and a safety measure that is recognised worldwide.”