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If Sellafield is so safe how come the Fat Cat chairman lives 240 miles away in London; WHAT DON'T THEY LIKE ABOUT CUMBRIA?


THE five men in charge of Sellafield earn almost pounds 1.5 million pounds running the plant - but it's likely that YOU live closer to the aging nuclear installation than they do.

They may be the directors of the deadly plutonium plant but NONE live in Cumbria.

They get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds basic salary per year PLUS thousands of pounds in benefits and extras - but all choose to live away from the poison they process.

Even the British Environment Secretary who gave the go-ahead to plutonium reprocessing at Sellafield has homes, not in Cumbria, but in Derby and London.

British Nuclear Fuels' Chairman, Hugh Collum, lives in London. Chief executive Norman Askew is in a deep valley in Derbyshire, Christopher Loughlin, who is responsible for the plutonium operation, used to live near Sellafield but has now retreated to Alderly Edge, Cheshire, and John Edwards, the company's finance director, lives in Warwick.

Not even the man responsible for waste disposal, David Bonsor, lives close to Sellafield. His home is in Mollington, near Chester.

So, all of the key BNFL players can sleep well at night, without the fears of pollution, sickness and poison harboured by the people of Cumbria and the east coast of Ireland.

If you live on the Ards peninsula or Co Louth, you could well be closer to Sellafield and its controversial new MOX plant - which recycles used uranium and plutonium to produce fuel - than the five highly paid BNFL Executive Directors.

At it's closest point to Cumbria, the Irish coast is just 60 miles from Sellafield.

The frightened people of Downpatrick, Ards, Portaferry, Drogheda, Blackrock and elsewhere have long campaigned for an inquiry into any link between their proximity to Sellafield and the high level of Downs Syndrome and other childhood illnesses in their regions.

While they worry about the affects of nuclear reprocessing and wonder what the wind brings when it blows from the east, BNFL's bosses have no need to think about the wind changing or what the Irish Sea is throwing up onto the shore.

To top it all the Board of Directors received huge bonuses in 2000 - despite a poor economic record and revelations that quality control records on shipments of mixed oxide fuel for Japan had been falsified by workers.

The state-owned group made pre-tax losses running to some pounds 210 million and Hugh Collum, the chairman, said: "there are areas where performance was clearly unacceptable and must improve".

However, the Chief Executive boosted his basic pounds 350,000 salary with a pounds 75,250 bonus.

His total earnings were pounds 432,904, compared with Mr Taylor's pounds 571,556 in his final year.

The finance director won a pounds 44,750 bonus on top of his basic pounds 191,250 salary, while two other executive directors, Chris Loughlin and David Bonser, each enjoyed pounds 38,000 awards on their pounds 185,400 basic pay.

Originally called Windscale, Sellafield began reprocessing nuclear waste fuel in the 1950s to obtain plutonium for weapons.

Traces of waste from the process have washed up on shores as far away as Greenland and radioactive gases spread around the globe.

Last night MP for South Down, Eddie McGrady, said: "It would say more for BNFL's much expressed confidence in the safety of their nuclear plant if its directors all lived in a cluster around Sellafield."

Dublin North West TD Pat Carey said: "BNFL constantly try to persuade people that their nuclear facility is safe and, despite the fact that they all choose to live hundreds of miles away, we're supposed to believe their safety claims."


240 miles away

THE Chairman lives the furthest away from the nuclear reactor.

He is safely ensconsed 240 miles away in London. There he owns an expensive three storey town house in the swankey Sloane Square area.

Mr Collum replaced John Guinnness as BNFL Chairman in 1999 (with an immediate pounds 16,000 increase on the Chairman's salary) on a three year contract which expires in October. He has a background in the brewing industry, as Group Finance Director of brewers Courage, and as a Non-Executive Director of South African Breweries.

He has worked for Cadbury Schweppes and was Executive Vice-President of SmithKline Beecham until 1998. From 1990 to 1992 he was chairman of the Hundred Group of Finance Directors.


200 miles away

Company Director John Edwards

JOHN Edwards, the Company Director, lives almost 200 miles from Sellafield in Warwick.

Mr Edwards, who holds an Honours Degree in Engineering Production from Birmingham Uni-versity and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, is also Group Finance Director, joined the BNFL Board on July 1, 2000.

He is the former Finance Director of Jaguar (1980-95), Northern Electric (1995-97) and Meyer International plc (1997-00).

Mr Edwards spent the first ten years of his career with Massey Ferguson and Chrysler in accounting and budgeting roles in the UK and latterly in Germany.

In 1980 he joined Jaguar as Finance Director, staying with the group through its 1984 privatisation and later pounds 1.8bn sale to Ford.

In 1995 he joined Northern Electric as Finance Director. Northern was acquired in 1997 by US power company Cal Energy and John moved to Meyer International, the building materials company.

As Finance Director he was heavily involved in the restructuring of the group through an aggressive M&A programme in the US and UK. In 2000, the company was acquired by St Gobain for pounds 1 billion.


Chief Executive Norman Askew

150 miles away

ASKEW lives more than 150 miles away from the plant he is in charge of.

He lives in a beautiful old-stone sprawling house in the pretty Hope Valley in the heart of Derbyshire.

He is surrounded by rolling hils, green fields and winding country lanes, rather than huge factory chimneys.

Mr Askew, known as "Stormin' Norman" in some areas of Whitehall because of his clashes with politicians there - was appointed Chief Executive of BNFL in 2000 following the revelations that the company could not produce MOX fuel to a high standard.

That scandal broke when it was shown that the only way it could deliver plutonium fuel to its clients was if it violated important quality control checks.

Less than six months into the job he seemed to be setting a time limit for the Sellafield Mox Plant when he said: "Without Japanese orders we cannot justify opening the MOX plant.

Despite his reservations, the plant was opened to a chorus of criticism from across the world.

Mr Askew was educated at Durham University, Aston University and the London School of Business.

He was Chief Executive of East Midlands Electricity in 1992 and President and CEO of Virginia Power in 1997.

He is also Chairman of Henlys Group plc.


Company director David Bonser

110 miles away

BONSER lives about 110 miles from Sellafield.

He chooses to live far from the nuclear waste that he is in charge of.

Mr Bonser lives in the leafy suburb of Mollington in Chester in a large detached property in its own secluded grounds.

He has spent his career with British Nuclear Fuels since 1971 in design, construction, commissioning and operations, working in both the enrichment and reprocessing businesses.

He has been Director of BNFL's Thorp Division, Company Development Director and Director of Engineering, Waste Management and Decommissioning.

He was appointed to BNFL's board of directors in October 1999. On 1 August 2000 he was appointed Transformation Director, in which post he is working to transform BNFL to position the company for a future "Public-Private Partnership." He has also retained responsibility for BNFL's engineering functions.

Mr Bonser is also Chairman of the UK waste repository company Nirex, and is a member of the Government's Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee.


Company Director Christopher Loughlin

110 miles away

CHRISTOPHER Loughlin also lives more than 100 miles away in rural Cheshire.

Responsible for the plutonium operation, he used to live close to Sellafield but has now moved more than 100 miles away and lives in a red brick semi, on the tree-lined Moss Lane in the quiet village of Alderley Edge.

Mr Loughlin is Spent Fuel Management Business Group Director.

He joined BNFL in 1981 and has been Director of Transport, Thorp; and Magnox Generation.

He joined the Board on September 30, 1999.

Following the executive management changes in April 2000, he became General Manager of the Spent Fuel Management Business Group.

He is responsible for Thorp and Magnox Reprocessing, Mox fuel manufacture, Sellafield waste management and decommissioning and transport.

He is Chairman of BNFL's French Company BNFL SA and Chairman of the World Nuclear Transport Institute.


Chairman Hugh Collum
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 7, 2002
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