Republican News · Thursday 4 September 1997

[An Phoblacht]

Sellafield `mess' slammed

The Celtic League in describing the British government's monitoring of pollution in the Irish Sea as ``an uncoordinated mess'' have called for urgent independent assessment of the Sellafield plant.

``It is clear that the pollution from the plant is continuing, extensive, contaminating both the land, air and marine environment, entering the food chain and contaminating human and animals'', say the League.

The accusation comes in light of recent research indicating that plutonium from Sellafield is now being found in the teeth of children, with contamination levels higher in children living near the plant.

Now the League has written to Labour Environment Secretary Michael Meacher to establish a body to monitor the pollution coming from Sellafield and rectify ``a quite disgraceful shortcoming from an environmental point of view which your office should address''.

According to the League, recent changes in BNFL (Sellafield's owner) reprocessing operations have altered the composition of the effluent being pumped into the Irish Sea. An increase in the levels of Technetium-99, which is known to accumulate in shellfish, particularly lobsters, means that lobsters are now 92 times as radioactive as they were four years ago. This makes them 30 times over the EU limit for consumption ``after a nuclear accident''. Technetium-99 is a man-made substance which is a by product of the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

The League, in assuring people they are not being alarmist, say that the Irish and Danish governments will highlight the concerns surrounding Sellafield at the OSPAR talks in Brussels later this month.

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