Revealing Sellafield documentary wins European science award

North West television production company Artlab Films has been awarded a top European science prize for its ground-breaking BBC documentary, Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield.

At an award ceremony in Lisbon, the production team were the recipients of the Physics Prize at the 2016 European Science TV and New Media Awards.

Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield told the astonishing 70-year story of the Cumbrian facility. From its founding as a WWII munitions base, through to the complex, cutting-edge decommissioning work now undertaken, Sellafield’s story is intertwined with technical, political and social developments throughout its operational lifespan.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili, who presented the programme, said, “As an academic nuclear physicist, I knew surprisingly little about the history of Britain’s nuclear industry before the making of this film and I had never been inside Sellafield, so this was an exciting opportunity.

“The story that our film told was an important one. We felt strongly that it had to be a thorough, unbiased and objective account of both the mistakes and triumphs of this often too-secretive industry. I think we succeeded.”

Executive producer for Artlab Films Mark Tattersall said, “It was a wonderful surprise to receive this award and we’re all extremely proud. It was a very strong shortlist on the night, so to be chosen was extra special. ‘Inside Sellafield’ was a very important programme to make, and we couldn’t have done it without both the support of the BBC, and the trust shown to us by Sellafield and its many stakeholders.”

Artlab Films, which has offices in London and Preston, took nearly two years to make the documentary due to the strict secrecy and safety protocols at Sellafield, which is one of the most dangerous and complex nuclear facilities in the UK.

Producer/director Tim Usborne added: “Making this programme was an incredibly tough challenge – filming inside some of the most hazardous locations in the country, while simultaneously dealing with issues of national security, meant meticulous planning.

“Thanks to an incredibly talented and patient production team, the results were worth it. Receiving the European Science Media Award for the film has been the icing on the cake.”