17/06/2003

Sellafield plans to 'significantly reduce' radioactive discharges

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given permission to British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL) to re-route certain radioactive production at Sellafield in order to "significantly reduce" radioactive discharges into the environment.

The modification to re-route the radioactive liquid process stream, Medium Active Concentrate (MAC), was a key part of the Environment Agency's decision on the future regulation of technetium-99 discharges from Sellafield. The Agency's decision acknowledged the need for the proposed re-routing to be subject to HSE permission.

The intended modifications will route future MAC to storage in the highly active storage tanks and subsequently to vitrification. BNFL has had to demonstrate to HSE that a modification to the process and operations can be done safely and will have no detrimental effects on either the high-level waste storage or the vitrification plants.

The decision comes one week after the Irish government began legal proceedings in The Hague to seek the closure of the Sellafield power plant.

The oral phase of the dispute was brought against the UK by the Government of Ireland under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The tribunal will consider Ireland's claim that the UK's decision to manufacture MOX fuel at Sellafield was taken without "proper regard to certain provisions of UNCLOS" - a claim the UK government emphatically refutes.

Ireland's Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Martin Cullen, has described the Irish government’s legal action relating to the MOX plant at Sellalfield as “an action to protect Ireland’s interests”.

The hearings will proceed for approximately three weeks from June 10 to June 27 and will be open to the public with some exceptions where material being referred to is of a confidential nature.

(GMcG)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

31 January 2014
Alarm Triggered At Sellafield Nuclear Plant
A safety check is underway at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant following an alarm indicating "elevated levels of radioactivity" was triggered. A spokesman for the plant in Cumbria said that the site was partially closed and buildings were being checked. He added that there was currently no evidence of radioactive release or accident.
04 May 2006
HSE to prosecute BNG Sellafield over leak
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to bring a criminal prosecution against British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd (BNGSL) in connection with a leak at the Sellafield reprocessing site.
21 April 2004
Sellafield set to reduce radioactive discharges
Sellafield, the British Nuclear Fuels-run power station in Cumbria, is set to cut discharges of a certain type of radioactive material by 90% – waste matter which had been pumped into the Irish Sea.
10 June 2003
Irish government's legal case against Sellafield gets under way
The Irish government has begun legal proceedings in The Hague today to seek the closure of the Sellafield power plant. Five international arbitrators will begin hearing the oral phase of the dispute brought against the UK by the Government of Ireland under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).