SELLAFIELD’S chief executive has confirmed he expects about half of the total number working there pre-pandemic to be back on site by September, as the disruption caused by Covid-19 continues to have an effect.

Martin Chown, the nuclear site’s chief executive, said yesterday that about 2,000 people are currently working on the site as the easing of lockdown has prompted a gradual easing back to normal of operations at Sellafield.

Mr Chown said that he expects this number to double by September.

“This is still roughly only half the 8,000-plus people who were working on site before Covid-19, but we have adapted the way we work, moved some people off site and paused some work lower down the priority of hazard and risk reduction so that we can make room for our highest priority work," he said.

“The people working on site over the next six months will be split roughly half and half between Sellafield Ltd employees and our supply chain.”

Mr Chown added that Sellafield will soon be bringing forward plans for the restarting of the Magnox reprocessing plant.

He also said that Sellafield is not simply returning to “business as usual.

“Familiar places of work will look and feel different – so it’s more important than ever before to place safe working at the heart of everything we do, particularly when returning to work after time away.

“This means extra effort and care from line managers taking the time and making the space to have a conversation with people returning to work about how they feel and any concerns they might have. For all of us as individuals, it also means looking out for each other.”