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Monday, June 23, 2003

:: Scottish Salmon + Sellafield ::
Earth-Info.Net is amazed by how quickly major political decisions sometimes get made...

Within 24 hours of a report saying that Scottish Salmon contain low levels of radiation a 9 month moratorium on the dumping of further radioactive waste into the Irish sea has been announced!

Earlier today Greenpeace released a report which said that most of the salmon bought from UK supermarkets contain trace amounts of a radioactive compound called Technetium-99 (TC99) - a waste product of the nuclear industry.

There is no safe disposal technique for Technetium-99 on land and storing it until such techniques have been developed is not an option because the UK's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has put pressure on BNFL to get rid of it.

Apparently, it is also dangerous to store TC-99 on land in a liquid form any longer than you have to because there is no "failsafe" strategy for dealing with it...

Hence, BNFL has chosen to release this waste into the Irish Sea and the UK government has permitted it to do so...

According to the UK's Food Standard Agency the levels found in the study, are relatively low and pose no immediate risk to human health.

However, in 1998 John Prescott promised Europe that the UK would reduce radioactive pollution from Sellafield. Instead discharges have increased and are set to double over the next few years. This will mean increased levels of nuclear contamination in the food chain, and high levels have already been found in lobsters and other shellfish...

The fact that fish in British water contain radioactive compounds should, however, come as no surprise. ..

The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been emptying radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea for over 50 years and radioactive isotopes traced to these emissions have been upsetting Norwegian fishermen and the Irish government for years!

Also, in May 2002 the UK's Royal Society published a damning report on the preparations that have been put in place, by successive UK governments, in order to deal with the country's existing and mounting nuclear waste. The report recommends urgent action to strengthen + reform key institutions, the enhancement of independent scientific research and substantial new investment in order to permit the rapid deployment of the best available technologies (not entailing excessive economic cost).

According to Bellona the situation is even worse in Russia where dangerously full reservoirs containing radioactive sludge at Russia's nuclear re-processing plant in Mayak, Siberia pose a huge threat to the entire Arctic...