Bomb disposal experts have been called to the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria after it was evacuated because of a chemical leak.

Organic peroxide was identified during a routine inspection of the site, which has now been evacuated and shut down until its has been safely removed.

This chemical substance was stored in the site’s Magnox Reprocessing Plant, which the company says is safely segregated from the nuclear operations of the plant.

It adds that the risk has been identified as a conventional safety issue rather than a nuclear safety risk.

In a statement, Sellafield Ltd said: "During a routine inspection of chemical substances stored on the Sellafield site, a small amount of chemicals (organic peroxide) were identified as requiring specialist disposal.

"This chemical is used for a variety of purposes across many industries.

"In line with established procedures, support has been requested from Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD).

"The EOD team is now in attendance at the Sellafield site and will dispose of the chemical safely.

"Chemical monitoring is undertaken across the site to understand changing chemical states and to inform when and how industrial chemicals should be stored or disposed of.

"This chemical substance was stored in the site’s Magnox Reprocessing Plant. The storage area is safely segregated from the nuclear operations of the plant and the risk has been identified as a conventional safety issue rather than a nuclear safety risk.

"As a precautionary measure, a controlled evacuation of the Magnox Reprocessing Plant was carried out yesterday in order to investigate the chemical and devise the appropriate course of action. The plant was non-operational at the time.

"The plant will remain non-operational while the chemical is disposed of.

"As ever, our priority remains the protection of our workforce, community and the environment."

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