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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Irish fight for Sellafield 'secrets'
Sellafield Nuclear Processing Plant
Highly radioactive material is stored at Sellafield
A UK delegation will give evidence on Tuesday on the second day of a two-day hearing brought by the Irish government over the Sellafield plant.

The Irish Government has taken the UK to an international tribunal in The Hague to gain access to information on the Mox plant at Sellafield.

On Monday, Ireland's Attorney General Rory Brady said Dublin needed the information to assess the impact of radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea.

However, Sellafield plant operators BNFL has refused to reveal the information because it says it is too sensitive.

'Commercial information'

The UK government says the plant meets the highest international safety standards and has vowed to fight its case vigorously.

A spokesman said: "The very small amount of information being held back is commercial information."

Ireland is seeking full disclosure of two key reports commissioned by the British Government on the economic and environmental aspects of the Cumbrian nuclear plant.

It is arguing for access to additional information which it claims was withheld.

The case is being held in front of a panel of the Ospar Convention, a body of European nuclear countries brought together by agreements made in Oslo and Paris.

Nuclear freighters

The two key reports were prepared before the UK authorities approved the Sellafield plant for reprocessing mixed oxide fuel (Mox) from nuclear reactors.

A spokesman for Irish environment minister Martin Cullen said parts of both reports were "blacked out" and that they only saw a percentage of information.

Ireland's case before the Ospar Convention's arbitration tribunal will be led by Mr Brady, with Mr Cullen heading the delegation.

The tribunal comes just weeks after Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior intercepted two nuclear freighters in the Irish Sea as they made their way to Sellafield from Japan.


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