The bomb disposal team is called to the Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant after a routine inspection reveals explosive chemical organic peroxide
- Bomb disposal experts led the evacuation of the Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant in Cumbria
- Chemical organic peroxide was found during a routine inspection of the facility yesterday
- The sprawling area has been closed until the chemical can be safely removed
A nuclear power plant was evacuated after a dangerous chemical was discovered.
Bomb disposal experts cleared part of the Sellafield site in Cumbria yesterday after a routine inspection found organic peroxide.
The spill station has been shut down until the chemical can be safely removed from the Magnox reprocessing facility.
Bosses said the substance – which is used in the plastics and rubber industries – is removed from nuclear operations and treated as a conventional safety issue.
Bomb disposal experts cleared the Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant in Cumbria after a routine inspection found organic peroxide
What is organic peroxide and how dangerous is it?
Organic peroxide comes from a family of unstable compounds that are used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products, including pharmaceuticals and building materials.
They are so unstable that they need to be kept cool or they can trigger an out of control scenario.
Organic peroxides are used in chemical manufacturing to start and continue reactions that create new chemicals.
When used properly, chemicals are usually safe and useful.
Sellafield Ltd said in a statement: “A routine inspection of chemical substances stored at the Sellafield site found that a small amount of chemical (organic peroxide) requires special disposal.
'This chemical is used for a variety of purposes in many industries. In accordance with established procedures, assistance has been requested from the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD).
& # 39; The EOD team is now present at the Sellafield site and will safely dispose of the chemical.
“Chemical monitoring is carried out across the site to understand changing chemical conditions and to provide information about when and how industrial chemicals should be stored or disposed of.
& # 39; This chemical was stored at the Magnox reprocessing facility on the site. The storage area is safely separated from the facility's nuclear operations and the risk has been identified as a conventional safety issue rather than a nuclear safety hazard.
'As a precautionary measure, a controlled evacuation of the Magnox reprocessing facility was conducted yesterday to investigate the chemical and develop the appropriate course of action.
The Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant can be seen in Cumbria on February 24, 2005. The 3.8 km² area on the coast produces nuclear fuel for electricity and stores nuclear waste from several countries around the world
Stormy past of the nuclear power plant
It was built on the site of a former WWII munitions factory and was originally called Windscale. It was selected in 1947 to produce plutonium for the British weapons program.
The Calder Hall reactors were the first in the world to use nuclear fission to generate electricity on a large scale.
In October 1957, a fire in a tower spread radioactive contamination across the UK and Europe. It remains the UK's worst nuclear incident and made Sellafield a target for environmental protests.
The site has been processing nuclear fuels from all over the world since the 1960s.
Electricity generation ended in 2003. Work is now focused on the reprocessing of waste and the decommissioning of reactors and plants.
& # 39; The plant was not in operation at the time. The system remains inoperative while the chemical is being disposed of.
"Our priority remains protecting our workforce, the community and the environment."
After a similar incident, bomb disposal experts were called to the plant in 2018. Their report found that the site had not identified the risks of outdated chemicals.
Sellafield was also rocked by allegations of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace last year.
Whistleblowers said it had a "toxic" culture in which women were molested and suggested by senior male employees, while homophobia and racist comments were ignored.
The then chairman of the board admitted that he was “ashamed and ashamed” of what was going on.
In a video message to employees leaked to the Daily Mail last year, Paul Foster said a survey found that one in 20 of its 10,000 employees was bullied or harassed.
One in four was of the opinion that this was tolerated by the bosses.
Some employees feared that the site, where the world's largest inventory of untreated nuclear waste was located, could be compromised.
The Cumbria nuclear processing plant is owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a non-departmental government agency responsible for decommissioning and cleaning the site through 2120.
It is operated by the nonprofit Sellafield Ltd, which has a budget of £ 2 billion a year.
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