How rapid testing is helping Sellafield through the pandemic

  • Video report by Samantha Parker.

More than 4,000 members of staff at Sellafield and their families have been tested for coronavirus in ten months thanks to rapid onsite testing.

Circular 1 Health, based at Warwick Bridge, have a contract with the nuclear power plant, providing accurate coronavirus tests.

People can access the centre if they have symptoms or have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive.

The tests are 99% accurate, with results in less than 45 minutes. The no-contact system is carried out just outside the gates to the main site, near Seascale.

Rebecca Weston, Chief Operating Officer, Sellafield. Credit: ITV News

Rebecca Weston, Chief Operating Officer at the plant, has told ITV Border: "Sellafield looks after a lot of material and a lot of processes we can't turn off.

"We have a lot of people in small teams around the site so the testing facility was really important to us to give confidence to people.

"They could get tested quickly and alongside the risk assessment measures we put in place at the start of the pandemic having the testing facility available quickly really helped us to provide resilience to the site."

Stuart MacLennan, CEO of Circular 1 Health. Credit: ITV News

The testing is carried out by Carlisle firm Circular 1 Health who have their own lab. When the country went into the first lockdown CEO Stuart MacLennan spotted the need for companies like Sellafield to be able to practice safely.

He said: "My belief has always been that businesses will always solves businesses problems first because business has to. Business doesn't have a choice.

"All Circular 1 Health wants to do it take the best technology available to help businesses stay working, keep the workers safe, keep the programme going and keep the economy moving."

As restrictions ease in the future the testing will remain in place for that added peace of mind.