BNFL automates to prevent false safety checks



Mike Simons

British Nuclear Fuels is to automate key parts of its fuel production process to prevent staff manipulating computer data to...



Mike Simons

British Nuclear Fuels is to automate key parts of its fuel production process to prevent staff manipulating computer data to falsify safety checks.

The falsification of data about mixed uranium and plutonium oxide (Mox) nuclear fuel, led to a crisis last week that is threatening the future of the Sellafield nuclear fuel plant.

The Government's Health and Safety Executive has condemned "systematic management failure" at Sellafield and "the ease with which the computer data logging system could be falsified".

Data manipulation had taken place at Sellafield Mox Demonstration Plant One since 1996, but the company only admitted to the problem in September 1999.

Talking to Computer Weekly this week, British Nuclear Fuels confirmed that operators were required to input 600 very similar four digit numbers into an Excel spreadsheet on a stand-alone PC. This made it easy to type in incorrect data or copy existing files.

The organisation refused to give details of its automation plans at this stage.

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