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Sellafield is a by-word for negligence and incompetence

17 February, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that the Sellafield nuclear facility is a by-word for negligence, incompetence and has a track record in poor safety.

Ms McDonald made her comments after an annual audit (2004) of nuclear material at the Sellafield plant revealed that 30 kilograms of plutonium remain unaccounted for.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"This most recent revelation that 30 kilos of plutonium is unaccounted for at Sellafield will come as no great surprise to the general public. It again highlights incompetence and negligence at the nuclear facility and once more calls safety procedures at Sellafield into question.

"It is not acceptable for the British Department of Trade and Industry to claim that this 'discrepancy' is not unusual. The British Government need to provide full disclosure on the whereabouts of the plutonium and wider safety concerns at the plant.

"In September 2004, the European Commission initiated legal proceedings against the British Government for its failure to comply with EU inspection rules on nuclear waste. When EU inspectors went to survey a pond at the plant they were unable to gain access to it due to high levels of radiation and poor visibility.

"Sellafield is a discredited plant and it remains the most dangerous and unstable nuclear facility in Western Europe. Sinn Féin will continue to fight for its immediate closure." ENDS

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