The heightened radioactivity at the Sellafield nuclear site that forced a partial closure was naturally occurring radon gas, the plant’s operator has confirmed.
The site will become fully operational this afternoon. This morning only essential workers were allowed in after a detector recorded elevated levels, raising the alarm.The heightened radiation had been picked up by one of 20 detectors around the UK site. It is the first time for several years that an alarm has been triggered.
In a statement, the company said: “Sellafield Ltd can confirm that the radioactivity detected by one of our in-air monitors overnight is not attributable to any issue or problem with any of our operations on site.
[...]Sellafield is the most contaminated nuclear site in western Europe and MPs have criticised the performance of the company running it.
Last year, it was fined £700,000 for sending several bags of low-level radioactive waste to a landfill site in Cumbria. It blamed a wrongly configured monitor.
Nuclear Management Partners has been given a five-year extension on the contract to run it, however.
Sellafield, home of Britain’s first nuclear power plant, now decommissioned, is vital to its plans for to increase nuclear power with NuGen – a joint venture between Toshiba’s Westinghouse and France’s GDF Suez – hoping to build a 3.6 gigawatt power plant.
Read more at Sellafield radiation alert resolved
Related article: Sellafield partly closed after ‘above normal’ radiation via BBC News