Sellafield Ltd was forced to put out a press statement in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 21st October) to calm fears of a potential chemical explosion in a laboratory on site.This followed an audit being carried out by the Company which yesterday had identified a number of canisters containing ‘non-nuclear’ chemical solvent which had been stored in the laboratory for 25 years. Whilst refusing to identify it, Sellafield Ltd confirmed that the chemical – an industrial solvent no longer used on site – once crystalized, had the potential to become unstable and pose a significant fire hazard if exposed to air. The company refuted the suggestion that any explosion had taken place and stated that bringing in the Army’s Bomb Disposal squad reflected ‘leaving nothing to chance’ when managing such chemicals in accordance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, and was ‘in line with best practice and established procedures’. Sceptics will query why, when similar audits are routinely carried out across the site, the Bomb Squad is not a more frequent visitor to Sellafield. Sellafield Ltd confirmed to CORE today that the unnamed laboratory was located in the site’s Separation Area. Denying that any workers had been evacuated from the Sellafield site, the Company confirmed that a cordon had been set up some 100 metres around the laboratory and workers had been evacuated from buildings within the cordon.
CORE 21st Oct 2017 read more »
The emergency removal of unstable chemicals from Sellafield yesterday has raised fresh concerns over safety at the nuclear site. Army bomb disposal specialists were called to the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Cumbria after a routine audit found canisters of potentially explosive solvents dating back to the early 1990s. Officials sought to reassure the public that it was “not a radiological event” and that the solvents had been safely destroyed in two controlled explosions. However, one expert who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed that although the solvents were not radioactive they had been kept in the main laboratory near far more dangerous materials. “This substance was in a dangerous oxidised state and if it had exploded in that location it had the potential to distribute radioactive material over the site and beyond,” the engineer said. “Sellafield appears to be downplaying the severity of it to the public.” The chemicals are understood to include tetrahydrofuran, an organic solvent that can become unstable when exposed to air. Sellafield Ltd, part of the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said that after the disposal the site was “working as it would be on any other Saturday”.
Times 22nd Oct 2017 read more »
Army bomb disposal experts were called to the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant last night after a ‘chemical incident’. A number of buildings at the Cumbrian site were evacuated as part of the operation and a 100m exclusion zone was set up around the affected lab. The chemicals, contained within a number of canisters, were discovered during a routine audit at a laboratory. They are industrial solvents, such as Tetrahydrofuran, which are potentially flammable in liquid states and can crystallise and become unstable when exposed to air. None of the chemicals are nuclear or radiological materials, a spokesman for Sellafield said. After the discovery of the chemicals, which had been stored in the lab since 1992, protocols for handling hazardous chemicals meant the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team were called around 8pm last night to assess the situation. An official statement from Sellafield said: “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.
Forces News 21st Oct 2017 read more »
Army bomb squad specialists have been called to a UK nuclear plant after hazardous chemicals were discovered in a lab.The military teams are still dealing with an incident at Sellafield reprocessing plant, in Cumbria, after the dangerous chemicals were found inside a number of canisters.
Mirror 21st Oct 2017 read more »
TWO controlled explosions have taken place at the Sellafield site following the discovery of old solvents which saw bomb disposal experts drafted in. The chemicals, which Sellafield chiefs say are solvents widely used in many industries, had been stored on the site for the last 25 years. They have been disposed of in two batches. The first was transferred from the laboratory in which the canisters were found to another location on the sprawling site of the nuclear plant in west Cumbria. They were ‘successfully and safely detonated’ by the army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team at around 2.15pm. The second batch was detonated just before 4pm in the same way. Earlier today a director of Sellafield Ltd said the firm was “leaving nothing to chance” as experts continued to deal with the materials that had been stored since 1992. A cordon, in place as a precaution since last night, has now been lifted.
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