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Huge Radioactive Leak At Sellafield - UK

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posted on May, 9 2005 @ 07:49 AM

Sellafield nuclear processing plant has been closed down after a huge radioactive leak!

Manchesteronline: Nuclear leak at Sellafield

A NUCLEAR reprocessing plant at Sellafield has closed after a radioactive leak.

The spill of a highly dangerous mix of nuclear fuel dissolved in concentrated nitric acid into a huge stainless steel chamber is not a danger to the public.

But it may take months to clean up because the chamber is now so radioactive that it is impossible to enter.

Experts may have to build special robots to recover the 20 tonnes of liquid contaminated with uranium and plutonium and fix the pipe at the £2.1bn plant.

The fuel will have to be siphoned off and stored until the pipe is repaired to conform to international safeguards preventing nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands. But engineers have yet to come up with a way of doing this.

Although most of the material is uranium, the fuel contains about 200kg of plutonium, enough to make 20 nuclear weapons.

Related News Sources:
Aftenposten: Sellafield leak rings alarms in Norway
Evening Standard: Radioactive leak closes Sellafield
Guardian: Huge radioactive leak closes Thorp nuclear plant

posted on May, 9 2005 @ 07:18 PM
Perhaps this is breaking news , ive not seen anything on TV about this.Perhaps the Government wants to keep this low profile and treating its citizens like mushrooms.

posted on May, 10 2005 @ 04:34 PM

Originally posted by Bulldog 52
Perhaps this is breaking news , ive not seen anything on TV about this.Perhaps the Government wants to keep this low profile and treating its citizens like mushrooms.

It actually happened on April 18th...
I guess they didn´t want to scare people before the election and all, so they kept it quiet...

Edit: Can´t spall...

[edit on 2005/5/10 by Hellmutt]

posted on May, 15 2005 @ 03:59 PM
Sellafield might never restart.

Guardian: Close nuclear leak plant for good, says Sellafield

May 15, 2005

The owner of the Sellafield site in Cumbria, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, wants its main reprocessing facility to shut forever following a leak of highly radioactive liquefied nuclear fuel containing plutonium and uranium.

In any event, the leak of some 20 tonnes of uranium and plutonium fuel, dissolved in nitric acid, will keep the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) shut for months.

But senior sources at the NDA, the government body set up to dismantle radioactive facilities at 20 sites across the UK, now believes that keeping the plant shut is the most economical option

posted on May, 24 2005 @ 03:44 PM
Recovery has started and is estimated to take 4 weeks.

Bellona: Recovery of radioactive leakage in UK to take four weeks

The recovery of highly radioactive leakage resulting from a leak discovered April 18 within the fuel clarification cell of the Thorp reprocessing facility at the UK’s Sellafield site began late last week, and will take around four weeks to recover a British Nuclear Group official told Bellona Web.

The BNG official sad that the incident—which ranked a “3”corresponding to a “serious incident” on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES)—that conditions within the cell remain stable and safe. The “3” rating on the INES sale is one step short of a nuclear “accident without significant off-site risk.

posted on May, 29 2005 @ 01:55 AM
Sellafield leaked unnoticed for up to nine months!

The Independent: Revealed: huge Sellafield leak went undetected for 9 months

29 May 2005

Full scale disclosed of worst nuclear accident for decade. Catalogue of human error led to massive radioactive discharge. Accident may force ministers to shut troubled plant for good

Tens of thousands of litres of highly radioactive liquid leaked unnoticed for up to nine months from a ruptured pipe in the controversial Thorp reprocessing plant at Sellafield in what the IoS can reveal was Britain's worst nuclear accident for 13 years.

British Nuclear Group, the company that runs the plant, last night admitted that workers failed to respond to "indicators" warning a badly designed pipe had sprung a leak as long ago as last August. The pool of nuclear liquor, 83,000 litres, was eventually discovered on 19 April. The company has ordered a review to check for other potential leaks caused by metal fatigue and an urgent drive against staff "complacency".

Somebody is about to loose their jobs...

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 08:47 PM


Published in Times & Star on Friday, June 3rd 2005

A RADIOACTIVE leak at Sellafield’s Thorp plant, which could have been missed for up to nine months, was a failure “worthy of Homer Simpson” a senior politician has claimed.

Shadow Trade Secretary David Willetts made the comparison with the inept cartoon nuclear plant worker while calling for answers on the seepage of fuel from a faulty pipe.

The Conservative spoke out after the findings of a report into the leak that closed the Thorp reprocessing plant in April were published.

It revealed engineering faults and a human failure to act on leak indicators as fast as they should have.

Click the link to read the full article...

posted on Jun, 6 2005 @ 07:54 PM
As if this wasn´t bad enough already...

Belfast Telegraph: Nuclear waste in corroding towers 'yet another worry'

06 June 2005

Towers storing nuclear waste from the 1950s are starting to corrode and are yet another worry at Sellafield, according to a European Parliament team which visited the UK facility on a fact-finding mission last week.

Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness said she came home with little confidence in how the plant is being run after touring the facility with two other MEPs late last week.

The recent revelation that a highly radioactive leak at Thorp - the thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield - may have gone undetected for almost a year is worrying enough, she said. However, after looking around the plant herself, Ms McGuinness said she was disturbed by some of what she saw.

"We were shown towers of waste material from the '50s that had started corroding, and every scrap of it had to be re-wrapped in concrete," she said. "But what we need is for this plant to be managed almost to infinity by experts."

"This should not have happened. It's incredible," was her view of the finding that the material had leaked due to metal fatigue in a pipe.

"They only discovered it late in the day, almost by accident, and yet it should be checked on a daily basis. To compound this horror, Sellafield management now admit that they missed detecting this very serious leak for several months," she added.

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 09:23 PM
Two senior managers at the Sellafield plant were suspended in April just after the leak was discovered. One of them has now returned to work after he (or she) has been through some disciplinary process. The other is "facing action".

BBC: Nuclear staff suspended over leak (from 4 August, 2005)

A senior manager has been disciplined and another is facing action after a leak at the Sellafield nuclear plant.

The pair were suspended in April at the time of the leak at the plant's Thorp reprocessing complex, but details have only just emerged.

One of the managers has now returned to work, while the other remains suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

Work at the Thorp complex was halted when the leak, which could have occurred as long ago as August 2004, was discovered in April.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

"Naughty, naughty, don´t do that again". And then back to work...

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 09:57 PM
Nice work following this Hellmutt.


I can't seem to get this picture out of my mind...


posted on Aug, 5 2005 @ 04:10 AM
Wow, i can't beleive the government has this much control to keep things out of the media, i mean don't get me wrong I knew they had SOME control, and quite alot of influence (especially in the states) but i expected more form the somewhat-more free UK press..

Can't beleive it.

posted on Aug, 5 2005 @ 01:09 PM
Unsourced, so this post is probably good as useless, but I'm pretty sure this story ran a good couple of months ago, on either the 'Today' or the 'PM' program on BBC Radio 4.

I can clearly recall the fact that the pipe from which the discharge occurred had been leaking for some months and that the liquid discharge had pooled out into a [storage] building ... There was a debate about how the discharge could go undetected for so long ...

I'll hunt around in case I find the transcript (but don't hold your breath).

posted on Aug, 5 2005 @ 01:23 PM
edit: misread, misreplied.

[edit on 8/5/2005 by QuietSoul]

posted on Jun, 8 2006 @ 06:29 PM
British Nuclear Group Sellafield has pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations and are now facing an unlimited fine.

BBC: Nuclear firm admits leak breach

8 June 2006

The operator of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria has pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations over a radioactive leak. British Nuclear Group Sellafield (BNGSL) now faces an unlimited fine after the criminal hearing on Thursday.

No one was hurt and no radioactive material escaped into the atmosphere after the leak at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) part of the site. But the spillage, discovered in April 2005, may have gone unnoticed for eight months.

Work at the Thorp complex has been halted since the incident.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 09:43 AM
Nuclear Transport

And while Sellafield itself is a looming disaster, the nuclear transports to Sellafield are also at risk. Badgers have build a home under the main railroad track and made a huge hole. Badgers are a protected species so they can't be touched. And the hole is getting bigger. But as they say: There's no need to worry, and there's no danger whatsoever...
Passengers and nuclear transports are "perfectly safe". Besides, there are experts there now. And they're checking the hole to make sure that there actually is no danger. Meanwhile, the nuclear trains continue to run as normal...

Whitehaven News: Hole found under nuclear rail line

Trains will continue to run as normal while experts monitor the site to make sure there is no risk.


“It’s a big hole but the entrance to the sett is sufficiently far away from the track, about 20 metres, so there is no apparent risk. At the same time we will have to try and find out what activity there is in the sett, what problems if any are likely to arise. If necessary we will work with Natural England to either move the badgers or relocate them even if it means building an artificial sett for a new home.”


Keith Bridges, of Ravenglass, was the first to see the hole while out walking his dog.

“I thought I saw an animal which looked like a badger, and since then the hole has certainly doubled in size. The height from top to bottom is just about the same but the hole has widened dramatically.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 11:05 AM
This sort of news makes me feel physically sick. When Gordon Brown gets the reins from Blair he plans to build more nuclear power stations across the UK. This scares the hell out of me.I bet they already know where they're going to build them too.

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 11:15 AM
Even today's 'Observer' Sunday paper runs with the front-page headline "Brown's vision for a nuclear Britain" but nowhere is there ANY mention of this latest incident. Instead it makes the case of war and energy insecurity as the prime motivation for a new generation of nuclear plants.

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 11:19 AM
You want to read something that will scare the hell out of you? I suggest you research coal plants. You'll get up to 100x the radiation from a COAL plant as you will from a nuclear plant. Even a so called "Clean" coal plant releases huge amounts of radiation. I'd MUCH rather live down the road from a nuclear power plant than a coal plant.

You have no idea how much radiation you are exposed to on a DAILY basis from NON man made sources. Yes, radiation can be very dangerous, but it's not the big scary bogeyman that people would have you believe. It all depends on the type of radiation, the source, and the amount you're exposed to.

Some analysts suggest that coal-fired power plants expose nearby residents to higher radiation doses than nuclear plants meeting U. S. government regulations. 141 Among the other trace elements listed in Table 3, coal contains between

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 11:22 AM
Nuclear power is the cleanest option at the moment. The problem with Sellafield is that it's old and is falling apart. And they have stored huge amounts of nuclear material there. In case of a major accident at Sellafield, Chernobyl would be like a small firecracker in history. In my opinion, they should start developing thorium power plants as soon as possible. Thorium plants would also solve many other problems. I.e. problems like meltdowns and "bad guys" getting nuclear weapons...

Thorium Power Plants Could Solve The World's Energy Problems

[edit on 2007/5/20 by Hellmutt]

posted on May, 20 2007 @ 03:01 PM
I'm very happy to see no-one here is jumping straight to the "Oh noes it could have been a meltdown!" line. Thankfully our fellow ATSers are better informed than that.

For anyone reading this and about to jump to the concept of a meltdown, stop. It was a fuel leak, not a reactor going critical. Two totally different things. You might as well worry about your doctors x-ray machine causing a nuclear winter if thats the path you're going down.

As for the cover up, I don't believe it would be the government covering this one up, rather, it would be the corporations in charge of that plant who would attempt it.

Either way, this is fixable, you just cant use people.

I'm going to have a read about thorium plants... looks interesting.

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