Since the global outbreak of covid-19 our business continuity teams have been preparing for a wide range of scenarios, from a small number of confirmed cases in our business to a wider outbreak.
Leading this response is director of environment, safety and security, Mark Neate. He said:
Our response has been deliberately structured so that we have dedicated resources to manage the ongoing situation while also maintaining our management and control of the Sellafield site and our nuclear facilities.
Employees are following the guidance provided by the Government and the NHS with regards to self-isolation and social distancing.
We have developed plans for remote working but given the number of employees we have this isn’t a simple task. Where people can work from home this is being managed through line management.
As you would imagine, many of our roles simply cannot be delivered from home. We have a critical mission at Sellafield and so our response must ensure the continued safety and security of our workforce, the public and the protection of the environment.
I want to personally thank those who continue to support this mission and – just as importantly - support their colleagues, either by working with them for an extended period or by making themselves available to work the next shift. Thanks to their efforts, Sellafield and our nuclear assets have remained safe and secure throughout.
We have taken some precautionary actions on the site, including the controlled shutdown of the Magnox Reprocessing Plant.
The reprocessing plant is approaching its 60th year and is a complex chemical facility designed to process and separate plutonium and uranium. Turning it off quickly in a response to reduced manning could create unnecessary maintenance or repair work, whereas a controlled shutdown leaves the plant in the optimum condition to be restarted.
Additional response measures so far also include:
- Making access to the site easier for those who need to get into Sellafield to do their role
- Enhanced cleaning in high footfall areas of the site and our offices
- Changes to our canteens to encourage social distancing
- Setting up a dedicated helpline and email account for employees