SELLAFIELD representatives have appeared in court as part of a prosecution brought after a worker was allegedly exposed to plutonium at its West Cumbria site.
Sellafield Ltd faces one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The allegation arises out of an incident at the Seascale plant on February 5 last year which prompted a formal ONR investigation. On that date, it is said that a male operator at the Seascale nuclear facility was exposed to plutonium.
It is alleged that Sellafield failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees – including the operator involved in the incident – “in relation to the risks arising from hand working within glove boxes”.
It was thought a plea to that allegation could have been entered on behalf of Sellafield at Carlisle Crown Court this afternoon (TUES).
But during a short hearing, barrister James Ageros QC, representing Sellafield, indicated to Judge James Adkin that no plea would be entered at this stage. A trial – with a three-week time estimate – has already been provisionally earmarked for April next year.
In the meantime, the case has been listed for another hearing at the crown court on February 22.
Judge Adkin heard the worker involved in last February’s incident at Sellafield was sat in the crown court public gallery during today’s hearing.
According to the ONR, the Sellafield site ranks as one of Europe’s largest industrial complexes. It is said to manage more radioactive waste in one place than any other nuclear facility in the world.