Nuclear expert's safety fears

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The Independent Online

A nuclear physicist who claims British Nuclear Fuels' "institutionally cavalier management culture" allowed safety lapses at Sellafield told an industrial tribunal yesterday that his decision to speak out had caused neighbours to ostracise him.

Ronald Hanas, who monitored the handling of radioactive materials at the Cumbrian plant, was addressing a tribunal panel which is hearing his allegations that he was constructively dismissed by BNFL Instruments (a business arm of the company) because of its failure to address safety concerns he was determined to raise.

He claims he left a £30,000-a-year role "in disgust" after eight months of employment in 2000, the year BNFL pledged to improve its safety training and mangement structure amid the scandal of falsified quality control data on Mox fuel for Japanese customers, revealed by The Independent.

In a second day of evidence to the Carlisle tribunal yesterday, 47-year-old Mr Hanas said: "I live in a village of 2,500 people who mostly earn a living from BNFL. I am going to have to move away."

The company insisted Mr Hanas was a "conspiracy theorist" who was "scaremongering for the purposes of his claim" and described him as relatively junior. The tribunal was adjourned until August.