Sellafield Nuclear Workers Told To Stay Home

Non-essential staff at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria have been asked to stay at home due to elevated radiation levels.

The plant was operating normally but with "reduced manning levels" while the cause of the higher reading at the north end of the site was investigated.

"Levels of radioactivity detected are above naturally occurring radiation but well below that which would call for any actions to be taken by the workforce on or off the site," it said in a statement.

All day personnel were asked to stay home unless specifically requested to report for duty but that laundry, canteen, utilities and transport staff were told to work as normal.

Those who could work from home were advised to do so if that was approved by their supervisors.

Sellafield later tweeted that it had found no evidence of a nuclear event.

"No risk to the workforce or the public, and no evidence of a nuclear event. All measures taken as a precaution," it said.

Nuclear expert Malcolm Grimston told Sky News that Sellafield was taking sensible steps.

"They have very carefully set out plans for anything of this nature and they'll simply be following those plans," said Mr Grimston.

A 2012 report by the National Audit Office said some facilities at the 68-year-old site had "deteriorated so much that their contents pose significant risks to people and the environment".

Sellafield, the UK's largest and most hazardous nuclear site, stores enough high and intermediate level radioactive waste to fill 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

It also has two nuclear plants which are currently being decommissioned.

The cost of cleaning up the waste at Sellafield has been put at £67.5bn.

In 1957, the UK's worst nuclear disaster also occurred at the site when one of the nuclear reactors caught fire, releasing radioactive material that spread across the UK and Europe.

The Government has announced that it wants to build a new nuclear reactor at Sellafield by 2025.

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