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Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 01:18 GMT 02:18 UK
Nuclear hazards in spotlight
Sellafield
Heated debate likely over Sellafield plant
The troubled Sellafield reprocessing plant will again be under the spotlight as a British and Irish conference meets to consider nuclear hazards.

The third joint UK and Irish Authorities Conference on Nuclear Hazards being held in Newcastle, County Down, on Thursday, will discuss converting the Cumbrian plant for nuclear clean-up.

Delegates to the conference will also discuss cutting radioactive discharges to the sea, controlling radioactive scrap metal and constructing a radioactive waste management policy.


Irish Minister of State for Energy Joe Jacob
Joe Jacob: International camapign against Sellafield
Irish Minister of State for Energy Joe Jacob and the Northern Ireland Social Democratic and Labour Party Environment spokesman Eddie McGrady will jointly open the two-day conference.

The Irish Government is currently working with Iceland and Norway on a legal attempt to force the UK to stop nuclear reprocessing at Sellafield, which is owned by British Nuclear Fuels.

They have called for nuclear processing at Sellafield to be suspended, under a legally binding treaty on sea pollution.

British Nuclear Fuels has not commented on these moves ahead of a summit in Copenhagen in June, which will discuss the proposal.

Mr McGrady, the South Down MP, is also a long-time campaigner against the Sellafield operation.

There are no nuclear plants in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, which fish the waters of the Irish Sea, where there is concern about radiation counts.

The UK Government has expressed concern that the jobs of Sellafield's 10,000 staff could be axed if the plant was to close, and has called on BNFL to get its operation into order.

Sellefield is currently the subject of a number of inquiries over alleged sabotage at the plant after equipment was deliberately damaged, injury to workers after a nitric acid leak and falsified safety records.

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