Sellafield in court on health and safety charges – after worker allegedly exposed to plutonium. Sellafield is the subject of a prosecution brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation under the Health and Safety at Work Act following an incident at the Seascale plant on February 5 last year. It is alleged that a worker was exposed to plutonium. Sellafield Ltd is alleged to have failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all its employees, including Jonathan Greggain, “in relation to the risks arising from hand working within glove boxes”. No plea to the charge was entered. A timetable for the case was set and a three-week trial was provisionally pencilled in for March.
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Craig Morris, prosecuting on behalf of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), said it had lined up 20 witnesses, including a number of medical staff who handled the contamination after the event. James Ageros QC, representing Sellafield by telephone, said he thought it was “highly unlikely” that a large number of medical witnesses would be required to attend a trial. Judge James Adkin set a provisional trial date of March 25 next year at the same court. A plea and trial preparation hearing will take place on November 2.
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Cavendish Nuclear is testing a new mapping system at the Sellafield plant which it says promises to transform decommissioning. The company is taking advantage of a breakthrough in fast neutron detection technology to develop a lightweight system that combines simple electronics with algorithms developed by Cavendish Nuclear. It provides rapid and highly-accurate modelling of plutonium deposits inside gloveboxes, pipes and valves used to process nuclear material. Janet Fletcher, head of products and services at Cavendish Nuclear, said: “Innovation in the use of technology is transforming the ease with which redundant plant can be mapped for the build-up of plutonium.”
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