A West Cumbrian laboratory, providing an essential service for the nuclear industry, has revealed how it is continuing work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cavendish Nuclear employs around 70 people at its Greeson Court base in Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven.

It provides analytical services for a number of the UK's nuclear sites to make sure they meet their site license requirements.

George Phillips, operations manager at Greeson Court, said: "The outbreak of coronavirus in the UK has not changed that important requirement.

“In the days before the UK wide lockdown, and since, we have been continually updating our customers with the situation at Greeson Court to give them confidence that we are able to continue to provide them with the services they require.

“Our usual day-to-day attendance of Cavendish staff at Greeson Court is typically 60 to 70 people."

He added that a number of measures were put in place to make sure the work could continue while protecting staff.

Cavendish Nuclear asked its customers to identify the analysis which was critical to their operations.

Mr Phillips added: "This allowed us to split the team into two teams and put staff on a weekly rotation, enhancing social distancing at the labs but it also ensures each area of the facility has cover for processing samples as they are received."

Members of staff not part of the laboratory analyst team were sent home to work where it was practical to do so and for staff on site, break and lunch times have been staggered to make sure the least amount of people are in the communal areas during these times.

In the laboratory, there is enhanced personal protective equipment available and staff are using other parts of the building for paperwork and the laboratory is also being cleaned down regularly by staff and the firm's cleaning contractor.

Communication via online means, like Skype, email or via the phone is encouraged rather than face-to-face contact.

Mr Phillips added: “By working together and implementing and following the restrictions, and by engaging with our customers we have been able to provide a safe environment.

"This also enables us to continue to provide the critical analytical services required by our customers.

“I am exceptionally proud of the way my team has responded to the difficult changes in the way they work in a very, very short space of time, of the way they are looking out for one another and the way they are doing this and continuing to deliver for our customers and the nuclear industry.”