Press release

Sellafield chemical disposal - 25 October

Ongoing chemical disposals at Sellafield

Disposal of historic chemicals is a common procedure.

Current status – Wednesday 25 October 2017 (15:45)

Preparations are continuing for the assessment of safe disposal options for chemicals identified during decommissioning work at our analytical services laboratory.

As we announced last night, we have requested the support of the Army’s EOD team in doing this.

Update at Tuesday 24 October 2017

As part of work to prepare for the decommissioning and demolition of the historic analytical laboratories at Sellafield, we identified a number of chemicals requiring safe disposal.

Following the safe and successful controlled detonation by the army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team at the weekend we are now seeking further technical advice from the EOD to assist us with further chemical disposals. This work will take place in due course.

Disposal of historic chemicals is a common procedure. The EOD team deal with redundant chemicals including from schools, universities and hospitals, hundreds of times a year.

Operations in the laboratory complex have been stood down to enable these further technical assessments. Employees should attend work as normal.

Key facts:

  • Even in a worst case scenario, a release of radioactivity from the site is not credible.
  • Our mission is to clean up and decommission the Sellafield site – the oldest and most complex nuclear site in the UK. We discover things like this because we proactively go looking for them.
  • The chemicals we are dealing with at Sellafield are contained within a complex of laboratories.
  • The chemicals are in sealed containers and the containers are in good condition.
  • Sellafield Ltd has engaged with our regulators throughout this process and will continue to do so. Sellafield Ltd’s investigation will be made available to them.
  • We stood down the on-coming shift in the laboratory complex, in order to make it easier for the EOD team to come in and assess the situation.
  • The rest of the Sellafield site (over 1,000 buildings, which are home to over 10,000 employees) is operating normally tonight, and will be tomorrow.
Published 25 October 2017