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New Sellafield owners take over clean up operation

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has taken over the running of the Sellafield site's clean up operation in a non-commercial contract.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has taken over the running of the site from today. Credit: British Nuclear Group/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The site had been owned by private sector consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) which was previously criticised for large overspends and long delays.

The change will allow Sellafield Ltd to progress its hazard and risk reduction and decommissioning, in order to deliver it more efficiently.


Sellafield guarantees work for Cumbrians during decommissioning process

Cumbrian workers will be given priority in the decommissioning process Credit: PA Images

Sellafield has announced a deal guaranteeing jobs for local people during the decommissioning of the nuclear site.

The agreement has been signed between Sellafield Ltd and a series companies involved in the decommissioning process.

Among the promises made by the firms:

  • A 'local first' approach to recruitment, with one consortium aiming for 95% of its work carried out by Cumbrian staff
  • 150 jobs for what are described as 'under-represented or disadvantaged' people
  • Up to 240 new apprenticeships over 10 years
  • Training and business mentoring

Sellafield Ltd says these commitments will be written into the contracts of the organisations carrying out the decommissioning.

It suggests that more than a thousand jobs a year could be created or supported during the ten years of the decommissioning contracts.

Our first priority will always be the safe, secure and cost-effective clean-up of Sellafield.

But alongside that is a commitment to help deliver a long-term, sustainable economic future for our local community.

– Paul Foster, Managing Director, Sellafield Ltd

Safety hat trick for Sellafield team

The Evaporator D project team. Credit: Sellafield Ltd

A team from Sellafield Ltd are celebrating a million hours without an employee injuring themselves.

It is the third time the team has reached a million hours without an employee accident which would result in the person having to take a day off work.

Project manager Dan Priebe says it is a 'significant achievement'. The team have spent 12 months working on the delivery and installation of 'the largest module ever to be delivered to the Sellafield site, the massive Evaporator module'.

Dan Priebe went on to say, 'this is clear demonstration of the team’s commitment to maintaining our impressive safety standards and reflects well on the continued success of a strong safety culture throughout the year.'


Sellafield Ltd accept judgement

Sellafield Ltd have said they 'regret' dumping five bags of low level radio active waste at a landfill site at Workington and that they 'accept responsibility' for the incident.

Today the company lost their high court appeal against a £700,000 fine imposed last year.

We regret this incident and accept our responsibility for what happened. We have strengthened our procedures and must now continue our focus on the safe and secure running of the Sellafield Site.

"We are pleased to see the Court’s recognition that there was no actual harm and indeed a very low risk of harm.

" We are also pleased to see his comment that we made guilty pleas at the first available opportunity, the very considerable cooperation that Sellafield Ltd displayed after the discovery of the failures and that both these factors deserve very considerable credit..."

– Sellafield Ltd spokesperson

Sellafield Ltd 'deserve credit for guilty pleas'

Lord Thomas said that Sellafield deserved very considerable credit for the guilty pleas made at the first available opportunity and the very considerable co-operation it displayed after the discovery of the failures.

In considering the appeal, the court also took into account its previous offences.

The court had regard to its turnover of £1.6 billion - or £30.7 million per week - and its annual profit of £29m - or £560,000 per week.

Lord Thomas said It was clear that viewed in the light of those financial circumstances, a fine of £700,000 after a guilty plea was a fine which reflected a case where the culpability was moderate, the actual harm in effect nil and the risk of harm very low.

"A fine of the size imposed, even though only a little more than a week's profit and about 2% of its weekly income, would, in our view, in the circumstances achieve the statutory purposes of sentencing by bringing home to the directors of Sellafield Ltd and its professional shareholders the seriousness of the offences committed and provide a real incentive to the directors and shareholders to remedy the failures which the judge found existed at the site at Sellafield."

– Lord Thomas, Court of Appeal

Sellafield loses appeal against radioactive waste fine

Sellafield ltd has lost its appeal against fines levied against them last year.

In February, the company was fined £700,000 for sending bags of radioactive waste to a landfill site.

The bags, which contained waste such as plastic, tissues and clothing, should have been sent to a specialist facility that treats and stores low-level radioactive waste, but a number of management and operational failings led to them being sent to Lillyhall landfill site in Workington, Cumbria.

Today, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting in the Court of Appeal with Mr Justice Mitting and Mrs Justice Thirlwall, said there were no grounds for criticising the level of fines imposed.

Sellafield fined £700,000 for radioative waste mistake

Sellafield has been fined £700,000 for sending bags of radioactive waste to a landfill site in Cumbria. The bags containing waste such as plastic, tissues and clothing were sent to Lillyhall landfill site in Workington in April 2010.

The bags should have been sent to a specialist facility. Sellafield found the error was caused by the wrong configuration of a new monitor which passed the bags as "general" waste making them exempt from strict disposal controls.

This breached the conditions of Sellafield's environmental permit and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations.

While this incident did not lead to any significant harm being caused to the public or to the environment, the failings by Sellafield Ltd that led to the incident were serious and we consider that on this occasion, Sellafield Ltd fell well short of the high standards which we expect from them."

– Ian Parker, nuclear regulation manager, Environment Agency

Sellafield Limited deeply regrets this incident and we want to assure our stakeholders we've put in additional controls and checks and balances to ensure that any risks from future occurrences is mitigated. Also, any kind of impact to the environment was low.

– Tom Foster, Executive Director, Sellafield Limited
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