Cumbria

Sellafield in court over plutonium exposure charge

Sellafield Image copyright PA
Image caption Sellafield reprocesses nuclear waste

Representatives from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant have appeared in court after a worker was allegedly exposed to plutonium.

Sellafield Ltd was charged with a health and safety offence after an incident at the West Cumbria site in February last year.

The company entered no plea at Carlisle Crown Court.

The prosecution relates to "risks arising from hand working within glove boxes".

The glove boxes are sealed containers, with integral gloves, which allow someone to work on objects or materials that need to be kept in a separate atmosphere.

The company faces one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The ONR said the Sellafield site is one of Europe's largest industrial complexes, managing more radioactive waste in one place than any other nuclear facility in the world.

A trial has been provisionally earmarked for April next year with another hearing listed for February.

This is the first prosecution brought by the ONR since it was established in 2014.

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