By Harry Keaney
BNFL’s spokesman in Washington, D.C., David Campbell, admitted that recent revelations concerning Sellafield caused concern to the company’s customers in the U.S. But, he said, BNFL would "work through them and get confidence restored in our overseas customers."
Campbell, an Irish American with Massachusetts roots, added that he thought the U.S. Department of Energy’s move to review the company’s activities and to send a team to Sellafield was "positive."
"We need to go through that to move forward," he told the Echo recently. "We believe reviews are important and need to happen. If they are conducted on a technical basis by qualified personnel, we think they will show we operate soundly. We are not frightened of reviews. We work in a regulated environment."
Recently, BNFL announced a management shakeup and pledged "a comprehensive overhaul" of safety procedures. It hired a new chief executive, Norman Askew, said it would replace directors, hire safety personnel, reshape the chain of command at Sellafield under a single executive, and streamline safety procedures.
"These changes are fundamental to create a new basis for the business going forward," BNFL chairman Hugh Collum said. "Transparency and accountability will be our watchwords. I am convinced these changes will ensure BNFL has both a safe and success future."
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Critics of BNFL, however, say what is needed is a shift in the company’s business, away from nuclear-fuel reprocessing, which produces liquid waste. It is this waste that has been stored in tanks in Sellafield. Critics fear that if these tanks overheat, radiation may be released.