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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Sellafield plan 'not good enough'
Sellafield nuclear plant
The government Sellafield strategy runs until 2020
Environmental campaigners have criticised the government's latest promise to cut radioactive emissions from Sellafield nuclear plant.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett has said that by 2020 discharges from the site will meet levels drawn up in a series of meetings with European nations.

But Greenpeace campaigners say the UK Strategy for Radioactive Discharges does not go far enough.

There have been concerns from the Irish and Norwegian governments about the level of radioactive waste being discharged into the Irish Sea by the Cumbrian-based BNFL plant.

Doses reduced

Mrs Beckett said the UK will implement the Ospar (Oslo-Paris) Radioactive Discharges Strategy, to "ensure the reduction of radioactive substances into the marine environment."

She said: "We have already seen radioactive discharges, particularly discharges of the most radiotoxic radio-nuclides, in the UK reduce very considerably."

Mrs Beckett said total discharges were at 1% or less of their peak levels in the 1970s, and that estimated radiation doses to the public near Sellafield had been reduced as well.

A woman joins the protest, PA
Ireland fears radioactive discharges

She said: "Closing the remaining Magnox power stations and the end of Magnox fuel reprocessing at Sellafield will be a key element in further discharge reductions."

The Magnox station at Sellafield is expected to close by 2012.

Reprocessing of nuclear material will continue to be carried out by the Thorp plant at Sellafield, which emits lower radioactive levels than Magnox.

More plants

But Greenpeace spokesman Simon Reddy told BBC News Online: "This is not good enough.

"The UK could cut radioactive discharges tomorrow if it stopped reprocessing nuclear fuel, which the Ospar countries asked it to do in 2000.

"The Magnox plant could also be closed down much sooner.

"Thirdly, the government has left a door open for the option of building more nuclear power plants in the UK."


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See also:

30 Sep 02 | England
19 Jun 02 | Health
20 Dec 01 | England
19 Dec 01 | Science/Nature
17 Dec 01 | N Ireland
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