On 7 June 2019, low levels of radiological contamination were detected on an individual’s hand and shoe during routine exit monitoring from the Fuel Cycle Area common change-room. The individual was taken to Dounreay Site Restoration Limited’s Occupational Health Department for decontamination. In accordance with Dounreay Site Restoration Limited’s arrangements, access to the area was temporarily restricted until a health physics survey had been undertaken and the area declared to be clear of contamination. Other personnel were asked to leave the local work area and monitoring confirmed they were clear of contamination.
The ONR site inspector was informed verbally on the day of the incident. The levels of contamination detected fell considerably below the threshold requiring formal notification to ONR and it was agreed that ONR would await the outcome of the site’s internal investigation, as is routine in such circumstances.
The outcome of Dounreay Site Restoration Limited’s investigation confirmed the minor extent and nature of the contamination and that it came from a facility within the fuel cycle area. It gave rise to a very small radiation exposure to one individual, which was significantly below the annual dose limits specified in Schedule 3 of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017.
ONR is satisfied that Dounreay Site Restoration Limited followed its arrangements in its initial response to this incident and has implemented appropriate actions to prevent a recurrence. ONR will check the effectiveness of the corrective actions at a future planned inspection.
The context of this report is that the incident generated media interest. At the scheduled public meeting of the Dounreay Site Stakeholder Group, held in Thurso on 26 June, 2019, Dounreay Site Restoration Limited’s Managing Director reported on this incident as part of his general update on activities at the site. This resulted in a number of news items appearing in the local and national media.
The incident was rated as Level 0 (Below Scale / No Safety Significance) on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES).