UK-Norway Sellafield solution one step closer? / News / The Foreigner

UK-Norway Sellafield solution one step closer?. Further meetings at political level between the UK and Norway about Sellafield have still proven to be inconclusive. Concern about the consequences of an accident at Britain’s ageing nuclear reprocessing plant for Norway’s western coast remains high. It is feared up to 1,000 cubic metres of high-level radioactive nuclear waste (HAL) from as far back as 1960 is stored in 50-year-old tanks at the plant.

helgesolumlarsen, nilsboehmer, bellona, eriksolheim, sellafield, ukambassadorjaneowen, britishembassyoslo, leifjohansevland



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UK-Norway Sellafield solution one step closer?

Published on Thursday, 14th April, 2011 at 15:07 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 18th April 2011 at 14:02.

Further meetings at political level between the UK and Norway about Sellafield have still proven to be inconclusive.

Sellafield aerial view (2005)
Sellafield aerial view (2005)
Photo: © Copyright Simon Ledingham/W. Commons


Concern about the consequences of an accident at Britain’s ageing nuclear reprocessing plant for Norway’s western coast remains high.

It is feared up to 1,000 cubic metres of high-level radioactive nuclear waste (HAL) from as far back as 1960 is stored in 50-year-old tanks at the plant.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA)’s recent report shows an explosion or fire could release radioactive fallout seven times worse than Chernobyl.

Uncertainty

Last week, Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim, the Mayors of Stavanger and Hordaland County, and Nils Bøhmer, the Bellona Foundation’s nuclear physicist, met representatives from the UK government and Sellafield at the plant to discuss the matter.

“Sellafield staff had many plans, and we had many questions,” Mayor of Stavanger Leif Johan Sevland tells The Foreigner.

Only one Norwegian journalist was allowed inside because of what staff at the plant claimed were “new procedures”, prompting speculations by Mr Bøhmer that “the British have something they are trying to hide.”

A new meeting, in which UK Ambassador to Norway, Jane Owen, also participated, was held in Lofoten yesterday. Delegates signed a joint statement, agreeing to meet again at a conference in West Cumbria next summer.

"Bellona and Guardians of Our Common Seas (GCS) seek the speedy emptying of tanks containing HAL and to ensure that reprocessing plants of THORP and Magnox are operated safely. In addition GCS and Bellona would like information that provides assurance that HAL stored at Sellafield does not represent a considerable pollution risk to the Nordic countries in the event of a serious accident… Sellafield Ltd (and their owners Nuclear Management Partners) and the NDA take the views and concerns of Norwegian stakeholders seriously and have participated willingly in this conference,” it reads.

No end in sight?

The issue was discussed again at today’s seminar at The British Embassy in Oslo.

“Our dialogue was more positive, open, and transparent than last week’s although its content was not what we hoped for. Sellafield personnel say the amount of HAL emptied from the buffer storage level will be increased by up to three times. Yesterday was the first time they released information about the buffer level, but we are still waiting for more details,” Mr Bøhmer says.

Moreover, Liberal Party (V) politician, Helge Solum Larsen MP, says the meeting left him partly discouraged.  

“They [staff at Sellafield] appear to have a plan to deal with current waste at the plant, but I don’t know if this is a permanent solution. It may well be they intend to continue reprocessing past 2015, and we need answers as to whether or not they intend to process further waste in the meantime.”

He believes a clear statement should be issued about Norwegian unease in light of the NRPA report.

“Sellafield is the plant that concerns Norwegian authorities most in Europe, and I believe the Norwegian government is doing everything it can to make things clear. We, the Opposition, will continue to ask questions if we do not get any answers, and can exert more pressure via our friends, the British Liberal Democrats, if necessary.”




Published on Thursday, 14th April, 2011 at 15:07 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 18th April 2011 at 14:02.

This post has the following tags: helgesolumlarsen, nilsboehmer, bellona, eriksolheim, sellafield, ukambassadorjaneowen, britishembassyoslo, leifjohansevland.





  
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