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Roche must take hard line with British - Morgan

9 January, 2007


Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has called on Minister Dick Roche to take a hard line on British government plans to re-open the Thorp nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield in his meeting with Alastair Darling, the British state for trade and industry in London today. Deputy Morgan also highlighted a shortfall in British funding for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that brings into question British commitments to 'cleaning up their act on nuclear power'.

The Louth TD said: "This is no time for a softly softly approach from the Irish government. At the weekend we saw another nuclear accident in Britain with a recently closed plant at Sizewell leaking 40,000 gallons of radioactive water into the local environment, yet the British government is proposing to cut funds for their Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

"It is the NDA that currently owns the Thorp plant and has a brief to clean up Britain's nuclear industry. Yet according to British unions it is facing a £160 million shortfall in funding for the coming financial year. How can we take seriously assurances from the British government about cleaning up their act on nuclear power in such a context?

"The reality is that the British nuclear industry survives on vast state subsidies. It makes neither, economic, nor environmental sense. I am calling on Minister Roche who, like me represents a coastal community that has suffered from the radioactive leaks from Sellafield, to strongly press the Irish case for the permanent closure of Thorp."

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