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News

Statement of nuclear incidents at nuclear installations

HSE InfoLine : 16 February, 2006  (Company News)
A statement on incidents at nuclear installations in Britain that meet Ministerial reporting criteria is reported to the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and for Scotland and published every quarter by the Health and Safety Executive.
A statement on incidents at nuclear installations in Britain that meet Ministerial reporting criteria is reported to the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and for Scotland and published every quarter by the Health and Safety Executive.

For the period 1 October 2005 to 31 December 2005 there was one incident at a nuclear licensed installation that met the reporting criteria.

On 4 December 2005, British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd, the licensee, detected high levels of radiation in an area of the Highly Active Liquor Evaporation and Storage facility. This occurred during a routine operation to sample highly active liquor.

The operation was stopped. Operators evacuated the building safely and quickly in accordance with instructions. Controlled re-entries into the building were then carried out to define the scope of the problem and put in place appropriate contingency controls and recovery plans.

There was no loss of primary containment and no environmental effects were found inside, or external to, the building. Restrictions were placed on the use of an adjacent building because of high background radiation levels but were later removed on successful completion of the recovery plans.

Three operators carried out the sampling operation. They received elevated radiation doses, though well within legal limits.

The source of the high radiation was traced to a small diameter wash line feeding the sampling plant. The line has since been cleared, restoring normal operating conditions except to local areas where some access restrictions remain.

HSE's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has conducted a preliminary investigation and BNGSL is conducting its own internal investigation. The root cause of the incident has not yet been established but on the basis of its own investigation, BNGSL has already recognised the need to improve its approach to learning from experience in HALES. NII will await completion of BNGSL's investigation before deciding whether enforcement action is warranted.
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