Republican News · Thursday 24 Novemeber 2000

[An Phoblacht]

British nuclear industry's 90 billion clean up

It is only after 40 years of pollution and wholesale contamination that the British government is finally deciding to think about how to clean up the tonnes of radioactive waste spread across military facilities and nuclear power stations in Britain.

Estimates of clean-up costs reaching more than 90 billion were being discussed by British government officials in recent weeks.

British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) has costs of 34 billion, the Atomic Energy Authority is facing a clean up bill of 7.9 billion while the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has as yet undisclosed costs that could reach 50 billion.

Now the Labour government plans to create a new single authority responsible for all the waste. The Liabilities Management Authority (LMA) would take responsibility for the clean up.

The creation of the LMA is not good news for Irish people concerned about the dangers of Britain's nuclear industry. It means that BNFL is freed from its responsibilities for the huge amount of nuclear waste it has created. The company can now be privatized and sold off free to keep running the nuclear power stations and reprocessing facilities that are the creators of such dangerous waste in the first place.

Given that the coalition government is continually stressing its opposition to Sellafield how is it going to react to the formation of the LMA. One way would be to complain to the EU that the LMA was an unfair form of state aid to BNFL in that it effectively absolves it of not only its moral responsibilities but also 34 billion in costs. Now it is time for the coalition to finally take the ball and run on this issue.

75,000 elite

Doesn't it just swell your heart with pride? The 26 Counties is on course to be one of the wealthiest states in the EU, with 25,000 lucky people enjoying annual incomes in excess of 75,000.

These figures come from a study done by Bank of Ireland's (BoI) private banking service. It is an elite part of the BoI network that deals exclusively with what they call ``high net worth'' individuals. You have to have a substantial six-figure sum to invest to become a member of this club.

In the 1997-'98 tax years, 14,769 people reported incomes in excess of 75,000 to the Revenue Commissioners. BoI Private Banking expect this to grow by about 20% a year for the next three years.

The BoI survey also found, surprise surprise, that house prices have doubled over the past five years. More startling was the finding that sales of luxury cars has grown by 158% between 1994 and 1999.

This might be good news for BoI's private banking service. However it does not bode well for anyone who is asking who has benefited from the Celtic Tiger economic boom.

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