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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Irish seek support over nuclear row
Pacific Pintail
Ireland says the shipments are "hugely dangerous"
The Irish Government is trying to get international support to stop two ships carrying nuclear waste passing through the Irish Sea.

The government is concerned that the ships - on the way to the Sellafield processing plant in Cumbria - present an "unacceptable risk" to the environment.

The consignment began its six-week voyage to Sellafield under armed guard on Thursday, after being turned away from Japan.

Greenpeace protesters have said the latest consignment contains enough plutonium to produce 50 nuclear bombs.


I think it is unacceptable to everybody

Irish Environment Minister Martin Cullen

Irish Environment Minister Martin Cullen said: "This type of shipment is totally unacceptable to the world at large and the international community.

"We have been putting enormous pressure, both legal and diplomatic, on the United Kingdom authorities with regard to the whole issue of Sellafield.

"There are two legal cases running, and what Ireland has to do now is bring on board the international community on this

"The world has got to ask - have we got to get involved in these hugely dangerous shipments moving around the world?

"I think it is unacceptable to everybody."

Vulnerable cargo

Japan's Kansai Electric Power company rejected the waste after finding that data for a 1999 shipment from the UK had been falsified.

Mr Cullen said he was maintaining "close contact" with London amid fears that the shipment could be a target for terrorists to attack or hijack.

The cargo is a potentially weapons-usable mix of plutonium and uranium oxides, known as MOX.

According to Greenpeace, which is monitoring the ships' movements, the vessels are "slow, lightly-armed and vulnerable to attack".

Mr Cullen, who is being pressed to intensify protests to the UK over the development, said: "The shipment of such materials through the Irish Sea represents an unacceptable risk to the environment of Ireland and the health and economic well-being of its population."


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22 Jul 02 | England
19 Jun 02 | Health
20 Dec 01 | England
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