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Alan Hayton 1

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Title:Alan Hayton 1


GW: right, right, but the four years you were there I mean did you often have to go into irradiated areas   

AH: oh yes, erm, anywhere where there was a machine, I mean the law at the time was quite specific that erm any machines that was for lifting er people had to be examined by a competent person every six months and a machine for lifting er as a crane would be is every twelve months and it didnt matter where it was erm the law specified it had to be done, so wherever it was either wed have to go or do it remotely, we did use, in some cases, remote er inspection equipment like er, video cameras, erm endoscopes, er, small little robots that er would take a camera or even a sound recorder to where er we couldnt go but theres a lot of places where you could go er, and one of the delights I suppose of the job was going in cell dressed in a plastic bag, just PVC, er, because [laughter] where you would go would be warm anyway and you, youd be dressed in cotton underclothes, wellingtons, a PV suit and hood and respirator, sometimes two PVC suits which were sealed so you become er literally a boil in the bag kipper, er [laughter] I been, Ive been in places where my wellingtons have been so full of sweat up to my ankles, er, er, the time you spend in there is er, is little, as little as possible, it had to be done

GW: so, it would be strictly monitored I assume and, how, how much time would you spend preparing and for, to go into these areas and then decontaminating afterwards compared to the amount of time you were able to spend on the job

AH: well, entering the, like a C3 area, a controlled area, erm it would take you about, the time a monitor had been in and made sure that the levels were within permissible levels of erm of er radiation erm, suiting up would take about fifteen to twenty minutes, er, you could be in cell for anything up to four hours which was at times was too long, laterally people have been in with me Ive had to carry out with heat exposure, erm, er you see youd spend your time in there as little as, as little time as you possibly could

GW: then it was more to do with the heat then in some cases than

AH: well it was the heat that was generated inside the PVC because you know youre just totally enclosed, totally enclosed and the only access to, to air, is at, is either through breathing apparatus, closed circuit, or erm through a, a nuclear er filtered respirator but er, the only air movement was in that case would have been out of your lungs, no other, youre literally stuck in a polythene bag, erm 


GW: right now I think that you said something about for health reasons you, you were taken off that site, what was, what happened then Alan

AH: I developed some growths in the, on the soft palate erm which were erm pre-cancerous and er I had them removed er but erm one came back and er back to get that removed they had to take a bit, away a bit of jaw bone too and erm, even though there was low grade risk of er any spread from these growths into my lymphatic system or my blood system er when I finally er I had erm, some er treatment at Carlisle but when I went back the doctors at Carlisle cleared me, you know, 100%, when I went back for a medical with BNFL, BNFL doctors decided that er perhaps it wasnt the safest place for me to be because theres certain types of cancers at Sellafield which are far, far below the national average but there are certain types of cancers within Sellafield which are far, far, far higher than the national average and they only find these types of cancers where theres radiation or radioactive contamination and it became apparent er through discussions with some of BNFL doctors that perhaps these growths in my mouth could have been caused by er alpha particle contamination, erm again from wherever, so they offered me a choice, if I wanted to leave whole heartedly er the legal stand at the time supported that decision I would make they would er they would put somebody else into Sellafield and take me out er into the wider world, which I always did work erm in British Steel and down the docks and anywhere where there was heavy machinery anyway er, but er I choose to stay a while longer and they gave me like all the clean areas, more consultancy at Calder which was a high radiation area but very low contamination, which went well for a while until Id been on pile cap two and er I got contaminated in a allegedly clean area 

GW: thats was pile cap two you said Alan

AH: yes, that was in Calder Hall

GW: right, and how did that come about, was it ever established how it had happened

AH: they had been doing a fuel er change a couple of months before, er and er it wasnt really established how it was but this is all we can assume it was, thered been a fuel change a couple of weeks before and er I would go into areas where possibly nobody else would go er, and there might have been some contamination there er that had been missed by the monitors, I only found out when I tried to come out of the cell, Id got washed and went to put my hands in the monitor just for a laugh and it went off scale and that would happen three times and then went to a full body monitor three times and then I realised that er, because sometimes you could go to a monitor and it would show, show you were contaminated although you werent because it was them monitor that was at fault so you always go into two or three, but when all six had said I was contaminated I thought well, yea, theres something not quite right, erm it turned out I was contaminated er, I mean it wasnt, wasnt much erm but would have been a change if any alpha particles go inside my respiratory system or into my mucus membranes which were burnt away after the treatment at Carlisle so didnt make a lot of mucus and if any had went in well that would have been fatal to me, er which was a worry, erm anyway after Id been cleaned up I went to see their doctors again, they decided that perhaps it wasnt a good idea for me to stay on site at all, so thats when I came back out into the wide world 

Narrator:Alan Hayton
Short Biography:AH00001-b
Full Transcript:AH00001-f