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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Sellafield pipelines are scrapped
The underwater pipes were laid in 1949 at Sellafield
Pipelines laid more than 50 years ago to carry treated nuclear waste from the Sellafield plant in Cumbria into the Irish Sea have been removed.

The three-year project involved underwater engineering work to scrap 3.5 miles (5,702 meters) of pipework.

The pipelines were historically used to discharge treated processed effluent and rainwater from the Sellafield site into the Irish Sea.

The project is part of Britain's ongoing nuclear clean-up operations.

Two steel pipes installed in 1949 and a temporary plastic section from the early 1990s were removed in the multi-million pound operation.

'Significant challenges'

Shortly after the project began in August 2003, an investigation was mounted after more than 150 pieces of pipe turned up on beaches as far afield as the Isle of Man.

It emerged some sections stored in undersea baskets had broken free during bad weather.

Tony Price, director of clean-up at British Nuclear Group, said: "I understand that these are the first ever process discharge pipelines from a nuclear facility that have been recovered anywhere in the world.

"This project presented significant challenges to protect the environment and our priority has always been to complete the work safely and to minimise the impact on the environment and the local community."

Following inspection of the seabed, the marine vessels which have been a familiar sight offshore at Sellafield will be moving onto new work.

Monitoring of beaches near the site will continue over the next month.


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