UK's Sellafield nuclear facility partially closed after radiation alarm

The UK's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant was partially closed after "elevated levels of radioactivity" were detected, the BBC reported.

UK's Sellafield nuclear facility partially closed after radiation alarmA perimeter alarm had been triggered at the north of the site and each building was being checked, BBC quoted a spokesman as saying.

Though there was no evidence of radioactive release or accident, "there can be no guessing on nuclear sites", he added.

According to the company, there was no risk to the public or workforce.

Director of stakeholder relations Rory O'Neill said, one of the 20-odd site perimeter monitors was registering above normal levels of radiation.

He added, it was not a level that would trigger any kind of activity on or off site, it was below levels that would demand doing sheltering or anything like that.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change it was in constant contact with Sellafield but it had no reason to believe that it was any more serious than they had said.

According to a Sellafield spokesman, part of the plant was being cleared to allow detailed investigations and the "relevant experts" were on site.

He added, the possibility of the alarm being triggered by naturally occurring levels of radiation could not be discounted.

News & Star quoted national secretary Gill Wood as saying, higher than normal radiation readings had been detected at one monitor at a perimeter fence and by way of precaution, non-essential staff had been advised to stay at home today while the relevant specialist team investigated.

The company's decision to partially close some areas at the site was a precautionary and measured decision and a safety measure that was recognised worldwide, she added.

Sellafield said, the monitor detected heightened levels of radiation at the north end of the sprawling site.

The company said in a statement, "In response to an operational condition on the Sellafield site a conservative and prudent decision has been taken, to operate the site at reduced manning levels, commensurate with safe operations."

The firm added, "Levels of radioactivity detected are above naturally occurring radiation but well below that which would call for any actions to be taken by the workforce on or off the site.

"The site is at normal status and employees and operational plants are continuing to operate as investigations continue. All our facilities have positively confirmed there are no abnormal conditions and are operating normally."