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CONTRACTORS EXPOSED TO RADIATION RISK

Workers contaminated with plutonium during concrete removal

 

Sellafield Ltd has been ordered to pay over £100k in fines and prosecution costs after two contractors inhaled radioactive contamination at the Sellafield nuclear site, Cumbria in July 2007.

The incident occurred during the removal of radioactive contamination from an area of concrete floor in a room formerly used to sort and monitor material contaminated with plutonium. A patch of concrete floor was being drilled prior to being removed.

The two contractors were contaminated with plutonium by the dust produced from the drilling. There was no immediate impact on their health, but they received a significant radiation dose below annual dose limits.

Mark Bassett Superintending Nuclear Inspector, said:“Although the radiation doses in this case were below the statutory dose limits, they could potentially have been higher. They should have been zero. The incident highlights the importance of Sellafield Ltd following its own arrangements for protecting workers, when undertaking potentially hazardous work with the risk of exposure to radiation. Sellafield Ltd should have properly assessed those risks, and then appropriately planned, organised and carried out the work.”

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