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400 NUCLEAR STAFF IN SAFETY WALKOUT.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by RICHARD SMITH

NEARLY 400 workers staged a 24-hour walk-out at a nuclear power station yesterday in a row over safety.

The dispute began after a maintenance worker broke his pelvis falling on to a concrete floor from scaffolding at the Hinkley Point B plant in Somerset.

An ambulance from Bridgwater nine miles away took 25 minutes to reach the unnamed man.

One worker said: "The delay could have cost him his life, and all the maintenance workers are very angry.

"These men deserve better. They keep the reactor safe for the entire country yet British Energy is penny-pinching and sacrificing safety.

"We've been asking for an ambulance and paramedics on site permanently for four years." He said it would be cheaper to have a full-time ambulance with paramedic crew than stand the cost of having a reactor shut down for a day.

Staff from the two main contract firms carrying out maintenance have threatened to stay out again today. Their bosses met British Energy yesterday to discuss their demands.

A British Energy spokesman said: "Safety is our number one priority. First aiders who work on site were with this man in three minutes."

It was "not usual" for a power station to have an ambulance on site at all times, he added.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 2003
Words:215
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