Sellafield organ scandal – Organs from over 65 deceased nuclear workers taken without consent

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An official inquiry has began into claims that organs were taken from dead nuclear workers without consent.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority will also look at data from its former research sites at Dounreay, Windscale (as Sellafield used to be called), Harwell and Winfrith to discover if similar tissue sampling took place.

BNFL is expected to have to check medical records for 20,000 staff to discover the full extent of the problem.

The inquiry will look into the medical records of 57 workers at Sellafield, six at Aldermaston in Berkshire, one at Springfields in Lancashire and one at Capenhurst in Cheshire, who had transferred from Sellafield.

Gerald Walker, 52, whose father Roland Walker began work at Sellafield in the early Fifties and died at 69 in 1989, said: “This issue needs to be investigated. I knew my father had a post-mortem but nothing was mentioned about retaining any organs. I would be very angry if I found out that one of my father’s organs was taken.”

The widow of another Sellafield worker described the practice as “arrogant and cold-hearted”.

The 58-year-old, from Whitehaven, said: “I don’t even want to think that my husband could have been one of those people. It is too horrific to consider after all these years.”

The tissues were taken to Sellafield, Britain’s largest nuclear plant, from all the sites after post-mortem for examination and kept in freezers.

BNFL said the tissue was destroyed during analysis.

It added: “Files exist at Sellafield for 65 cases. In 56 of those cases the sampling was done associated with coroners’ post-mortems or inquests.

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