It's No Soap - Laundry Saves Lives

On January 7th 2007, at Sizewell A power station on England's Suffolk coast, an environmental disaster was narrowly averted when a worker visiting the laundry spotted a coolant leak.

A chance decision to wash some clothes narrowly averted a nuclear disaster, a safety report has found.

While using the laundry room at Sizewell A power station, a contract worker spotted a leak from a cooling tank.

By the time he raised the alarm more than 40,000 gallons of radioactive fluid had spilled out from a 15ft long crack in a pipe. Some of it reached the North Sea.

Although the water level in the tank had dropped by more than a foot none of the sophisticated alarm systems at the power station on the Suffolk coast had picked up on it.

The next scheduled safety patrol was not due for ten hours, by which time the level would have dropped enough to expose the nuclear fuel rods, possibly causing them to overheat.

Had they caught fire, a plume of radioactive material would have engulfed the coastline putting hundreds of lives at risk.

How a trip to the laundry averted nuclear disaster, Sophie Borland, Mail Online