Nuclear plants fined £2m each for leaks

A A A

The operators of two nuclear facilities have each been fined £2 million over radioactive spillages.

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority was penalised over an incident at Dounreay in Caithness.

And BNG Sellafield was fined for a radioactive leak at its Thorp reprocessing plant in Cumbria.

The fines were imposed by the Nuclear Decommission Authority (NDA) and will be deducted from the fee the quango pays to the operators.

In September last year 266 litres of hazardous, dissolved spent fuel spilled on to a laboratory floor at Dounreay's cementation plant.

The liquid, which is kept in underground tanks, was being pumped to the plant where it is mixed with cement then stored in 500-litre drums.

No employees were injured or exposed to radiation during the scare, but it led to the plant being temporarily closed.

The penalty is thought to be the biggest suffered after a safety breach at Dounreay.

The radioactive leak at Sellafield's Thorp reprocessing plant in May 2005 involved enough toxic material to half fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.

No one was injured after the plutonium and uranium fuel dissolved in concentrated nitric acid seeped through a fractured pipe but the plant had to be shut for several months.

The fines are detailed in the NDA's annual review for 2005/06.

Its report says: "As a consequence of failings that led to incidents at Thorp and Dounreay, the NDA has made a fee deduction of £2 million from both BNG Sellafield Ltd and UKAEA respectively."

A spokesman for the UKAEA said the Dounreay accident was unfortunate but no employees had been harmed.

She added: "It shouldn't have happened, but the plant was designed to protect the workforce and the environment in case something like this did happen.

"There was no danger to any of our employees and the necessary steps were taken."

In a separate development, the operators of Dounreay could face legal action over the release of radioactive particles.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it had submitted reports to prosecutors about the facility.

Sepa is now waiting to see if legal proceedings will be brought against the UKAEA.

Dounreay, a former experimental reactor establishment, was shut in 1994 and is earmarked for a £2.9 billion decommissioning by 2033.

More than 1,000 radioactive particles, fragments of spent uranium fuel rods about the size of a grain of sand, have been found on beaches and the sea bed around the facility.

Sepa said it had submitted reports to prosecutors in February this year and November 2004.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?