Sellafield trial date set over worker ‘exposed to plutonium’

Sellafield nuclear site
Sellafield nuclear site

A provisional trial date has been set over an alleged health and safety breach by Sellafield involving an employee being exposed to plutonium.

On Thursday, Carlisle Crown Court heard the Cumbria-based nuclear fuel reprocessing and decommissioning site was not ready to enter a plea until its own appointed expert had reported back their findings.

The firm is alleged to have failed to discharge its general health, safety and welfare duty to its employees, contrary to section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The maximum penalty for the offence is an unlimited fine.

Full details of the allegations have not been made public but at a previous court hearing it was disclosed it involved an exposure to plutonium at Sellafield’s Seascale plant on or before February 2 2017.

Craig Morris, prosecuting on behalf of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), said it had lined up 20 witnesses, including a number of medical staff who handled the contamination after the event.

James Ageros QC, representing Sellafield by telephone, said he thought it was “highly unlikely” that a large number of medical witnesses would be required to attend a trial.

Judge James Adkin set a provisional trial date of March 25 next year at the same court.

A plea and trial preparation hearing will take place on November 2.