U.K. Nuclear Site Tells Workers to Stay Home on Radiation

Sellafield Ltd. advised most workers to stay home after it detected “elevated levels of radioactivity” at Britain’s biggest nuclear-waste site.

“The Sellafield site is operating normally but with reduced manning levels today,” the Cumbria, England-based company said in a statement. “There is no risk to the public or workforce.”

Britain’s office of Nuclear regulation said in a statement it was monitoring the situation and satisfied with the action taken. The radioactivity is a “low level above normal,” said Richard Wakeford, professor of epidemiology at the University of Manchester. “Such a level would not pose a risk to health.”

Sellafield in northern England reprocesses atomic fuel and is the biggest store of the U.K.’s historical waste, according to Cumbria County Council. More than 10,000 people work at the company.

The U.K. has about 162,000 cubic meters of high-, intermediate- and low-level radioactive waste at 36 sites, according to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. All of the high-level waste, the most radioactive form, is at Sellafield, as is two-thirds of the intermediate waste, according to the data.

Sellafield undertakes decommissioning, reprocessing and nuclear-waste management on behalf of the NDA, according to its website. It’s owned by Nuclear Management Partners Ltd., a group including Areva SA, Amec Plc and URS Corp.

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