workers drop appeals over fake data sackings
Independent [London], 27 April 2000
By Charles Arthur, Technology Editor
workers from Sellafield who were sacked over the faking of safety data
on highly dangerous nuclear fuel rods have withdrawn their unfair dismissal
trio, who live close to the plant in west Cumbria, were due to claim
unfair dismissal against British Nuclear Fuels at a tribunal in Carlisle
today. But an employment tribunals spokesman said yesterday: "Their
cases have been withdrawn." The sacked process workers are Andrew Morton,
of Whitehaven, Steve Coulthard, of Egremont, and Bill Lomas, of Maryport.
of the men wished to talk about the cause of their sacking or their
decision to withdraw their appeals. Despite rumours locally that the
men have come under pressure from residents who see thousands of jobs
at risk following the exposure by The Independent of the scandal none
was willing to speak about their lives since they were dismissed. "I
don't want to speak about it at all," Mr Lomas said.
BNFL said it was aware of the withdrawal of the appeals but said "this
is a private matter for the people involved and for this reason it would
be inappropriate to make any further comment".
three workers, who had been at Sellafield for between seven and 15 years,
were sacked in September for faking data on 22 batches of mixed-oxide
(MOX) fuel, a mix of plutonium and uranium.
before The Independent had revealed that records of manual quality checks
had been falsified on MOX nuclear fuel rods intended for export. Subsequently
Japan, Switzerland and Germany suspended all shipments of fuel from
the Government has postponed its planned sell-off of BNFL, and there
are doubts about its ability to operate its new £300m MOX plant commercially,
having lost the faith of foreign customers who would have given it reprocessing
contracts for spent nuclear fuel.
MOX plant was built on the understanding that the Government would give
the company the go-ahead to operate it if the company proved its ability
to manufacture MOX fuel in a demonstration facility.
BNFL also faces threats from the Irish and Danish governments who want
to close the plant via the European courts, alleging a breach of radioactive
investigation is continuing after a worker sabotaged radioactive handling
equipment by cutting cables on robotic arms in the virification plant
AWE Management, the BNFL-led consortium which operates the nuclear weapons
plants at Aldermaston and Cardiff, has denied reports that there may
be more radioactive and toxic wastes in the plants than previously announced.
claims, made today in New Scientist magazine, quoted an internal BNFL
report which said that further surveys were needed and which expressed
surprise at apparent inconsistencies in waste records.