The company that runs the Sellafield nuclear decommissioning site near Seascale, UK, will end up prosecuted over an incident last year in which an employee was contaminated with radioactive material.
The worker’s hand became entangled with a cable when working on a probe, cutting his left hand and leaving an open wound, which a report of the incident said had “the potential for an internal radiation exposure.”
The routine procedure had previously been deemed safe enough not require cut-resistant gloves by the station’s management.
The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) notified Sellafield Ltd of its intention to prosecute the company for offences under Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The decision follows an investigation into the incident by the ONR, the UK’s independent nuclear safety regulator.
“For legal reasons we are unable to comment further on the details of the case which is now the subject of active court proceedings,” said a spokesman for the ONR.
Sellafield was built in Cumbria 1942 and was the first commercial nuclear power station to generate electricity on an industrial scale. After World War II it was used to produce material for nuclear weapons.
Since 2005, Sellafield Ltd has been tasked with the decommissioning of the site and the safe disposal of the large amount of hazardous materials within.