06 December 2005

Evacuation carried out at Sellafield


06/12/2005 - 18:19:47

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The Government tonight expressed concern about the safety of the Sellafield nuclear plant after a temporary evacuation had to be carried out.

An inspection at a sampling location on one of the plant’s High Activity Storage Tanks (HAST) on Sunday uncovered very high dose rates.

Environment Minister Dick Roche said he had been informed by the British authorities of the test results today.

“This incident presents continuing evidence of a facility where safety seems to be compromised and a plant which does not match up to the safety assurances being made on its behalf by the UK authorities,” he said.

The high dose rate is believed to be have been caused by a blockage in the pipe loop from which the samples were taken. No radioactive material escaped from the tanks but the area was temporarily evacuated as a precaution.

The Radiological Protection Institute (RPII) has also been informed of the incident and has confirmed that the minor incident has no adverse implications for Ireland.

The Government unsuccessfully took legal action against Britain in 2001 to prevent the completion of a reprocessing plant at the nuclear power station.

It is concerned at the environmental impact of the Cumbria plant on the Irish Sea and continues to press for its closure.

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