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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Radiation link to death of campaigner

RADIATION is thought to have contributed to the death of the former Sellafield worker who was jailed in 2004 for a bomb hoax at the site’s visitors centre.

Duncan Ball, who worked in the Magnox plant for 20 years, died on July 17. He was 49.

In 2007 Mr Ball was diagnosed with a bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma) and The Whitehaven News understands he received an interim payment from the nuclear industry scheme to compensate workers or their dependents for diseases which may be radiation-linked.

The scheme was set up by BNFL and the unions at Sellafield in 1982 and compensation is paid on a balance of possibilities (20 per cent and over) that a cancer may have been induced by occupational exposure to radiation. Over the last 27 years around 1,400 cases have been assessed and a total of £6.2 million paid out in 117 successful claims. Many of the cases were linked to Sellafield but the scheme has widened to include all nuclear radiation workers.

The scheme’s website says that “one BNFL claimant has received an interim payment with the case not yet being settled”.

For the last seven years of his Sellafield employment Mr Ball was a chargehand foreman. No one was prepared to comment on Mr Ball’s compensation claim and whether consideration will be given to a full settlement.

Mr Ball became disillusioned with Sellafield and in 2004 he caused a scare by leaving a holdall in the off-site visitors centre telling police it contained a bomb. He was charged and sentenced to prison for two years.

The bag was found to contain papers and computer discs allegedly safety breaches at Sellafield.

Marianne Birkby, from Radiation Free Lakeland, said: “Having tried and failed to raise the alarm about unsafe practices causing releases of radiation, in 2004 Duncan left what he called a ‘literary bomb’ in the Sellafield visitors centre. This was nothing more harmful to the general public than a CD which contained a detailed log of dangerous practices within Sellafield.”

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