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Management at Sellafield remain in "cover-up" mode - Morgan

10 May, 2005

Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. has slammed as unacceptable the three day delay by BNFL in notifying Irish authorities of a leak which occurred at the plant on April 18th. The Louth T.D. said that the delay in notifying Irish Authorities about the leak confirmed that management at Sellafield remained in "cover-up" mode.

Deputy Morgan said, "News that management at Sellafield waited for at least three days before advising Irish Government officials of a major radioactive leak, which occurred at the nuclear plant on April 18th, will be greeted with alarm but no surprise by County Louth residents.

"The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland has admitted that management at BNFL-Sellafield failed to notify them for at least three days of the leak of some twenty tonnes of a highly dangerous mixture, containing uranium and plutonium. Where does this leave the supposed new level of cooperation from BNFL with RPII and what is our Government going to do about this total disregard?

"Comments attributed to the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government Dick Roche in the Irish media this week are causing concern in Co Louth. Minister Roche was quoted as saying that the early warning system is working well. It clearly is not. A three day delay in warning Irish authorities is completely unacceptable. In the Dáil today I am challenging Minister Roche to clarify whether he considers such a delay acceptable.

"It certainly appears to me that management at Sellafield remain in "cover-up" mode and would happily have covered-up this incident, given half a chance.

"We need strong voices from all Government Ministers on this issue, coupled with strong action to hold BNFL to account. This action should include a conference of all groups opposed to Sellafield, including the Nordic countries, who have been much more active on this issue than the Irish government." ENDS

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