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Sellafield partly closed after 'above normal' radiation

  1. Jan 31, 2014 #1


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    They have/had "above normal levels" at a perimeter detector. As far as I know this would detect airborne radiation. And presumably at far lower levels than the source.

    "A spokesman stressed there was no risk to the public or workforce." Really? So they tell all non essential people to stay home on a whim? That is not a reaction to no risk. It is a reaction to some risk.

    Am I adding two twos and getting five to think that there is a significant leak somewhere within the plant. (By significant I mean a release that is a result of a failure of three safety systems - defense in depth usually means three layers of safety systems).

    Perhaps I am just bitching about a spokesman who thinks we are stupid and doesn't mind stretching the truth.
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  3. Jan 31, 2014 #2


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    Did you even read the second sentence of the article?

    "The company later said it was naturally occurring background radiation and not attributable to any issue or problem with any operation on site."

    "Rory O'Neill, director of stakeholder relations, said: "One of the 20-odd site perimeter monitors that we have is registering above normal levels of radiation."

    "Overnight the monitoring system initially indicated elevated levels of activity. Following investigation and analysis, we can now confirm these levels to be naturally occurring background radon."

    "Day personnel, agency staff and contractors have been told to stay at home until Monday."

    I presume the reason why day workers were sent home today (a Friday) and told not to report back until Monday was because... it's the weekend.

    The article borders on the absurd in terms of trying to cause panic over absolutely nothing.
  4. Jan 31, 2014 #3


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    I read the whole article in detail at about 10:00 this morning and they hadn't attributed it to naturally occurring radiation at the time. It has been updated since - I should have checked before I posted the link.

  5. Jan 31, 2014 #4
    One thing I have a question on, is what percentage of workers called off had rad-worker type qualifications?

    If there is an indication of an issue on-site, all non-qualified rad-workers are not allowed to show up. So if they did the call off, and it was mostly non-rad-workers, that would make a LOT of sense.
  6. Feb 7, 2014 #5


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    A belated comment.
    Does it not surprise that 'naturally occurring background radon' would manifest for the first time at one site after more than 60 years of monitoring? Seems implausible to me.
  7. Feb 7, 2014 #6
    I don't think it's the first time, it's probably just the first time we've heard about it.

    The plant's I've worked in get radon spikes from time to time. It's particularly bad if you have a combination of ventilation issues combined with very cold/dry temperatures. Normally equipment can discriminate radon by looking at the energies and/or the alpha-beta ratio, however with enough radon concentration many radiation detectors will disable their radon disciminator function. I've lost clothing before to false radon alarms because I had too high of a concentration on me (had to go get them a day later when enough decayed).

    Just my thoughts.
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