New Sellafield prosecution something of an enigma

Sellafield are in the dock again over Health and Safety issues although the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) statement gives little away about the nature of this new omission – although it apparently involves staff contamination in an area handling ‘special nuclear materials’.

ONR say they are tight lipped for ‘legal reasons’.

Its worrying to communities around the Irish Sea that the plants safety is once again under scrutiny:

ONR statement in full below:

“ONR to prosecute Sellafield Ltd

11 May, 2018

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has notified Sellafield Ltd of its intention to prosecute the company for offences under Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974).

The charge relates to an incident on 5 February, 2017, at a facility which handles special nuclear materials, which resulted in personal contamination to a Sellafield Ltd employee. The decision to prosecute follows an investigation into the incident by the ONR, the UK’s independent nuclear safety regulator.

A spokesman for the ONR said: “For legal reasons we are unable to comment further on the details of the case which is now the subject of active court proceedings.”

Proceedings will be commenced in Workington Magistrates Court in due course.

* Section 2 (1) ‘General duties of employers to their employees’ of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) reads: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.’

Celtic League has been a strident critic of the Cumbria plant and has campaigned both via new releases and involvement in environmental conferences since the days when the plant was run by BNFL. The Celtic League have also engaged with the plant visiting facilities in the North West of England.

The mystery surrounding the new prosecution is all the more surprising as the British government promised a new era of transparency some years ago and agencies from Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man are supposed to have an ongoing exchange of views with the plant operators.

Bernard Moffatt

pp Celtic League

May 17th 2018

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