Sacks three over Safety Checks
Independent, 7 October 1999
Fuels said on 6 October it has sacked three workers from its Sellafield
reprocessing plant for allegedly falsifying checks on nuclear fuel rods,
as revealed by The Independent last month.
The dismissal follows
an investigation by BNFL into allegations that some of its workers have
falsified manual checks on the mixed oxide (MOX) fuel rods, which were
destined for export to Japan. BNFL discovered that some of the safety
checks on the fuel rods had been copied from previous checks to avoid
the laborious checking process.
A company spokesman
said: "We can confirm three people have been dismissed following allegations
of data falsification relating to the production of MOX fuel in the
MOX Demonstration Facility. We are unable to comment further on this
particular issue as the individuals concerned still have the option
"The three workers were suspended last month while an investigation
was carried out into the allegations that 22 manual checks on batches
of uranium and plutonium mixed-oxide fuel rods had been falsified. An
official from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate visited the Cumbrian
plant after being alerted by The Independent when we reported that a
BNFL quality control team noticed checks on batches of the fuel rods
may have been falsified.
Each rod contains
more than 1,000 cylindrical pellets and about 200 pellets in each rod
have to be routinely sampled and measured at three points to check they
are of the correct size. Most of the high- security classified MOX fuel
is exported abroad from Sellafield, for use in nuclear power plants.
Each consignment is shipped in armoured vehicles with armed escorts.
Two shipments of
the fuel rods on their way to Japan when the investigation began were
checked by Japanese officials on their arrival there and were found
to be not affected, a BNFL spokesman said.