‘Sellafield ‘immediate risk to public safety’ must be addressed’ – Ritchie

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Politics
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has said that the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency must urgently accelerate its work at Sellafield following reports of abandoned nuclear waste storage ponds posing an immediate risk to public safety. Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said, “I was shocked to see images from the Sellafield nuclear plant which show the appalling conditions that nuclear fuel storage ponds are currently in. “These ponds contain hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods and irradiated water and yet cracked concrete tanks are clearly visible along with local birdlife swimming in the area. “If an accident occurs, causing these ponds to drain, there will be a serious threat of fuel igniting upon contact with air resulting in the dispersal of huge amounts of irradiated material across a wide area,” she insisted. “The SDLP has argued for years that proper decommissioning and cleanup of the Sellafield plant and proper safety standards were not adhered to, putting the public at risk. “It is imperative that the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency takes urgent action to accelerate its programme of work and has to deal with ongoing accidental discharges of nuclear waste at the site to make it safe. Ritchie added, “Residents and farmers in the east of Ireland have had to deal with the consequences of poor safety at Sellafield for years. We cannot allow that to happen again with further lapses and inadequate attention paid to the decommissioning of the plant.”

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