Severe weather closes Sellafield nuclear site

Nuclear plant returns to normal status following ‘site incident’ this afternoon

The Sellafield site in Cumbria sent home 8,000 members of staff as a precaution, due to poor weather conditions. Photgraph: PA

The Sellafield site in Cumbria sent home 8,000 members of staff as a precaution, due to poor weather conditions. Photgraph: PA

Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 16:28

Poor weather conditions have forced Sellafield management to send home roughly 8,000 of their 10,500 employees, although they stressed there is no nuclear risk.

The facility, which is made up of more than 1,300 buildings, declared a “site incident” this afternoon, due to the heavy snow, strong winds and the fact that there are many road closures in West Cumbria. A spokeswoman for Sellafield said it would be unsafe to allow full operation at the site.

The incident was declared as a precaution and to ensure that members of staff can get home safely.

Shift workers are expected to report to work as usual if they are able to. The site emergency control centre has been established and is managing the incident in line with Sellafield’s procedures.

A statement issued by the company said there are no external safety threats.

“There is no reason to believe that there will be any off-site nuclear, environmental or conventional safety issues associated with the incident,” it said.

“The priority for the team is to protect our workforce, the community and the environment.”

The facility has since returned to normal status.

“As a precautionary measure, the Site Emergency Control Centre will remain manned and operational to deal with any issues arising due to continuing adverse weather conditions,” a new statement said.

“All plants remain in a steady, controlled, safe state and safe manning levels continue to be maintained.”