Swiss nuclear experts probe British safety controls

Swiss nuclear experts have travelled to Britain as concerns grow that the Sellafield reprocessing plant (picture) may have sent fuel rods to Switzerland with falsified safety documents.

This content was published on February 28, 2000 - 16:28

Swiss nuclear experts have travelled to Britain as concerns grow that the Sellafield reprocessing plant (picture) may have sent fuel rods to Switzerland with falsified safety documents. It follows a scandal which cost the head of British Nuclear Fuels his job.

Last October, a shipment of reprocessed nuclear fuel from British Nuclear Fuels reached Japan carrying falsified quality control data. It prompted an investigation which found that records at the Sellafield plant, in Cumbria, had been systematically falsified.

The chief executive of British Nuclear Fuels, John Taylor, resigned in the wake of the report.

The Germany company, Preussen-Elektra, last week shut down a nuclear power plant in order to remove British fuel rods after the discovery of more false documentation.

Sellafield also supplies rods to the Swiss generating company, NOK. The company insists that its rods are safe and that the public has never been in any danger.

But two of its experts have travelled to Britain together with an official from the Swiss nuclear safety inspectorate to examine quality control procedures more closely. Their findings may be used by NOK to decide whether to continue its reprocessing contracts with Sellafield.

Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, have criticised NOK for not acting sooner.

The scandal comes at a sensitive time for Switzerland’s nuclear industry with two people’s initiatives threatening its future. The first proposes the closure of all nuclear power stations in the country, while the second calls for a moratorium on building new plants.

From staff and wire reports








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