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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Nuclear plant under attack from MP

British Nuclear Fuels admits some data was falsified

A Northern Ireland MP has called for the closure of Sellafield Nuclear Plant in Cumbria in England.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party MP Eddie McGrady has said it should shut.

SDLP MP Eddie McGrady talks to BBC NI's Connor Bradford
His call came following reports that staff at British Nuclear Fuels falsified quality control records for a batch of radioactive fuel pellets.

Mr McGrady said: "It is an industry which is riddled with a history of mismanagement, lack of safety record, lack of, in fact, openness.

"It has hidden and indeed falsified records in the past, especially to the governmental commission by Dr Black, the commission on the incidence of leukaemia. They falsified records of workmen exposure to that particular investigation.

[ image: Eddie McGrady: Call for plant shut down]
Eddie McGrady: Call for plant shut down
"This is an ongoing thing and the only answer to it, both in practical terms and for the future of the environment, is a run down and a closure of that particular plant," he said.

The discrepancies were discovered in the production process for MOX fuel, a mixture of uranium and recycled plutonium sold to Japan.

An investigation is now under way.

British Nuclear Fuels admits some data was falsified but said there was no safety implications and that the fuel pellets involved do meet the correct specifications.

'We informed our customers'

Head of operations for MOX fuel, Simon Marshall, said it was their own safety system that found the problem.

Sellafield spokesman Simon Marshall explains the issue to BBC NI's Seamus McKee
He said: "On the positive side it was our system that detected it and we informed our customers.

"We have nothing to hide on this, we informed the customers what was happening.

"Regrettably it did happen and we will be seeking to put in place measures to prevent a recurrence," he said.

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