Category: Archive

BNFL probe report due out next month

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

The U.S. Energy Department has completed an investigation of operations of the British government-owned nuclear power producer British Nuclear Fuels. A report will be issued next month, according to U.S. energy department spokesman Tom Welsh.

Among the plants operated by BNFL is the long controversial Sellafield nuclear complex in the northwest of England, across the Irish Sea from Ireland.

The energy department’s investigation included a review of British Nuclear Fuels’ work at five sites in the U.S.

Welsh told the Echo in May that U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson ordered a "top to bottom" review of BNFL’s work. The U.S. review, Welsh said, aimed to ensure that "problems uncovered at Sellafield" do not exist at the U.S. sites, which are located in Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Rocky Flats, Col.; Hanford, Wash.; the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Fernald, Ohio.

This week, Welsh told the Echo that the investigation of BNFL was completed at the end of May and a report on that investigation would be released on July 12 and would be available to the public.

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Meanwhile, in the last two weeks, Richardson has been under intense political pressure because of computer hard drives containing nuclear weapons data which went missing, and then mysteriously reappeared, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Richardson had been mentioned as a possible Democratic vice-presidential candidate but the contentious issue of possible security lapses at Los Alamos now seems to have scuttled a Richardson candidacy.

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