April 2011

Between 1952 and 2009, Sellafield discharged more than 47,855 terabecquerel of cesium-137 and strontium-90, two of the most dangerous radioactive elements to human health, according to calculations based on data from the U.K. Environment Agency and the Journal of Radiological Protection.

not another glowing report?

Britain sees three radiation spills at nuclear plants

Health fears have been raised as three recent radiation spills at Britain’s nuclear power plants were revealed to ministers.

Sellafield Nuclear Power Station in Sellafield Sellafield Nuclear Power Station in Sellafield (Pic: AP)

Radioactive waste leaked from the Sellafield complex in Cumbria, said the nuclear watchdog.

One month after the Japanese tsunami, the world’s biggest reserve of plutonium waste is reaching crisis point. It was meant to be reprocessed and sold – but now no nation will take it. So where is this vast stockpile? Not Fukushima, but Sellafield, Cumbria

it goes on to say

“The existing Sellafield Mox Plant, opened in 2002, has cost more than £1.3bn to date yet has produced just 13.8 tons of Mox fuel in nine years compared to an expected output of 120 tons per year. A leaked cable from the US embassy in London said Sellafield’s Mox plant was a white elephant costing about £90m a year and considered, privately, by the UK Government as “[one of] the most embarrassing failures in British industrial history”.

A Norwegian delegation has visited the British nuclear processing station at Sellafield in north-west England – and criticized the plant operators for becoming “more reticent? in the face of Norwegian concerns.

The Norwegian government has pushed over the past 15 years to have the operation shut down. Radiation leaked from the site over a number of years has entered the North Sea and been transported along the Norwegian coast, threatening fishing stocks and the local population.

A delegation including environment minister Erik Solheim and Nils Bøhmer, a nuclear physicist with the environmental foundation Bellona, visited the site on Thursday April 7. Tensions between the visitors and their hosts heightened when a number of journalists, including one from Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), were not allowed into a closed section of the facility with the delegation.

Bøhmer told newspaper Aftenposten that he “did not understand the reason for keeping the journalists outside.? The physicist was further frustrated when the Sellafield leadership did not answer questions on exactly how much atomic waste remains at the decommissioned plant, or how the operators planned to reduce waste to the so-called “buffer level? of 200 cubic meters, which they promise to do by 2014. This is a year quicker than demanded by the British government.

Speaking further to Aftenposten, Bøhmer felt that Sellafield’s new withholding of information “makes it even more important to gain support for a moratorium? in the processing operations. The mayor of the southern coastal city of Stavanger, Leif Johan Sevland, who joined the delegation, concluded that it is “essential? that Norwegians “keep up the pressure.?