Sellafield Ltd has been served with an improvement notice by the nuclear industry regulator following a number of electrical safety incidents across its Cumbrian site.
Several “electrical events” at the complex near Seascale have been subject of enquiries or investigation by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) over recent months.
In December, Sellafield Ltd was fined £320,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling more than £12,000 following one such event, which occurred in late April, 2020.
This resulted in a worker suffering 15-20 per cent burns, to his chest and arm, after he sustained a high voltage electrical shock.
These put the employee in hospital for several weeks. Magistrates heard he needed painful medical procedures to removed burned skin from his body, and was left scarred.
He did later return to work.
In the wake of this and other incidents, the ONR has served Sellafield with the improvement notice.
“While we are satisfied that Sellafield Ltd is currently meeting the high standards expected with regards to nuclear safety, as a regulator we require sustained improvements in the area of electrical safety,” said an ONR spokesman.
None of the incidents had any impact on the public or the environment, it was stated, and all were reported to ONR by Sellafield Ltd in line with requirements.
Dr Mina Golshan, ONR deputy chief inspector, said: “The improvement notice will require Sellafield Ltd to make improvements to the training and supervision of staff carrying out electrical work across the whole site.
“We have identified these issues to be the root causes of the majority of recent events.
“The notice will also require that any lessons learned from these incidents are applied to all areas of the site where electrical work is carried out.
“As the independent safety regulator, we will hold Sellafield Ltd to account to ensure that progress and sustained improvements are made.”
Sellafield Ltd must comply with the notice by 15 January 2022.