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Nuclear staff in lewd e-mail probe

January 25, 2001

Nine nuclear power station staff have been suspended and are being investigated over the distribution obscene e-mails.

Staff at the Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria were sent home on full pay while investigations continue into the distribution of offensive messages.

Three of the staff, who are employed by British Nuclear Fuels could be sacked, according to company guidelines.

The remaining six who were based at Sellafield but work for outside agencies face separate disciplinary action.


A Sellafield spokeswoman was unable to tell BBC News Online what the e-mails contained but said they were similar to those which led to the dismissal of Royal and Sun Alliance staff earlier this month.

Ten staff at the insurance company's Liverpool office were sacked for distributing altered and sexually-explicit images of Bart Simpson and Kermit the Frog.

The offensive e-mails came to light at Sellafield when a member of staff complained about receiving one.

The plant's spokeswoman said the e-mails breached company policy - which bans the distribution of obscene or insulting material - in a "serious manner".

Last October the government unveiled guidelines giving firms the right to monitor employees' e-mail.

Two months later five law firm employees who forwarded copies of a smutty e-mail sent by a woman to her boyfriend were disciplined but not dismissed from their jobs at Norton Rose.

Mobile phone firm Orange and telecommunications company Cable and Wireless have both sacked staff for misusing the internet at work.

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