BNG pleads guilty over Thorp leak

13 June 2006

British Nuclear Group Sellafield (BNGSL) has submitted a guilty plea in a criminal hearing related to a leak at the feed clarification cell at its Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) facility at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The operator pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations over a radioactive leak in which some 80m3 of spent nuclear fuel dissolver fluid containing 20t of uranium and 160kg of plutonium escaped from a ruptured pipe over several months up to April 2005.

Although no material escaped from the facility, the Health and Safety Executive brought the prosecution, arguing the firm failed to ensure safety systems were in good working order and that radioactive material was effectively contained.

The hearing was adjourned for sentence on 7 July at Carlisle Crown Court when the company faces an unlimited fine.

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