Irish Republican News · December 5, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Sellafield debris washes ashore on Down coast

Sections of discharge pipe from the Sellafield nuclear processing plant have been found washed up on beaches in County Down.

Sections of the pipe, over two metres in length and described by BNFL as being `lightly radioactively contaminated' were being removed from the seabed as part of the Sea Line Recovery programme when they broke free from their retaining cages.

This most recent `mishap' is just the latest in a catalogue of accidents and near disasters which has plagued the Cumbria plant since its opening in 1947.

Local people have not been reassured by the claims of BNFL that these pipes pose no health risk.

``The operation to remove the redundant pipes began earlier this year and was being used as a method to test the system before attempting to salvage the more heavily contaminated steel pipelines historically used for the highly radioactive reprocessing charges.

``BNFL has a number of serious questions to answer'', said Sinn Féin South Down MLA Willie Clark. ``If these steel reprocessing pipes had broken loose during their removal then there was a real risk of serious radioactive contamination.

Clark has demanded a full explanation from BNFL and the direct rule British minister for the Environment, Angela Smith.regarding what has been lost from the plant and the extent of the contamination caused.

``The long-term impact of Sellafield on our environment has been very negative, the health risks major and the potential it has for causing a catastrophe cannot be overstated.

``This incident highlights yet again its abysmal safety record and illustrates the dangers of the nuclear industry in Britain.

``Sellafield must be closed and there must be an immediate end again to the dumping of nuclear waste in the Irish Sea.''

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© 2003 Irish Republican News