Local pressure grows on Sellafield plant

Irish, Norwegian, British authorities press for lower nuclear discharges, end to fuel reprocessing

Local authorities from Britain, Ireland and Norway met in the English city of Manchester this week to intensify their campaign against the Sellafield nuclear plant on England's north-west coast. At their second annual conference, which ended today, councils demanded that the UK government should meet obligations it signed up to at this summer's Ospar meeting in Portugal to reduce nuclear discharges to the marine environment to close to zero. They also called on UK environment minister Michael Meacher to prevent the start up of the new "Mox" nuclear fuel manufacturing plan, which they said would increase hazardous nuclear transports through the Irish Sea. Norwegian local authorities were represented at the meeting for the first time, and briefed other delegates on last year's discovery of low levels of technetium-99 originating from Sellafield around the Norwegian coast (ENDS Daily 19 December 1997). Representing Irish county councils, Connie Hanniffy said that pollution from Sellafield risked "tainting" the public perception of Irish sea food products, potentially harming employment in this and the tourism sector.

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