‘Gruelling’ interrogation led to nuclear boss’s gaffe

 

The boss of the Sellafield nuclear site has blamed a “long and gruelling” cross-examination for providing MPs with inaccurate information.

Tony Price, managing director of the facility in Cumbria, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this month that a vitrification plant, which turns radioactive waste into glass for storage, was working well, while many staff were unable to work there after a power failure had led to heavy contamination.

When told of this the PAC’s chairwoman, Margaret Hodge, said that she would look at what Mr Price had said and that it was “a very serious thing to mislead” the PAC.

Mrs Hodge has criticised the cost of decontaminating Sellafield but was told that the plant was an example of where the private-sector team working on the clean-up had given the taxpayer good value for money.

A Sellafield spokesman told the committee: “It was certainly not Mr Price’s intention to provide what could be perceived as a partial answer and I hope you will understand that this was towards the end of a long and gruelling session.”

Sellafield conceded that the answer given by Mr Price was “not as helpful and informative” as it could have been.

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