Why did Sellafield bar the Norwegian press? / News / The Foreigner

Why did Sellafield bar the Norwegian press?. Updated: Several Norwegian journalists were barred from Sellafield under yesterday’s visit by Norwegian politicians. While NRK and several photographers had to wait outside, and other journalists had cancelled in advance, knowing they would be denied access, only Stavanger Aftenblad was admitted. Silence “I don’t understand why they [the other journalists] were not allowed in, because they have been in the past, "Nils Bøhmer, the Bellona Foundation’s nuclear physicist tells The Foreigner, accusing management of being more restrictive about information.

eriksolheim, bellona, sellafieldsafetyconcerns, nilsboehmer, chrishuhne, lordjonathanmarland



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Why did Sellafield bar the Norwegian press?

Published on Friday, 8th April, 2011 at 11:29 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 8th April 2011 at 20:42.

Updated: Several Norwegian journalists were barred from Sellafield under yesterday’s visit by Norwegian politicians.

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


While NRK and several photographers had to wait outside, and other journalists had cancelled in advance, knowing they would be denied access, only Stavanger Aftenblad was admitted.

Silence

“I don’t understand why they [the other journalists] were not allowed in, because they have been in the past, "Nils Bøhmer, the Bellona Foundation’s nuclear physicist tells The Foreigner, accusing management of being more restrictive about information.

Mr Bøhmer has visited Sellafield 12 times now, and there has always been a transparent information policy, until now.

“I even met the same people. They informed me they could not reveal any more because there are new procedures. Perhaps this also has something to do with the new, upper management team from the US that arrived two years ago,” he says.

Concerns are growing about the safety of Britain’s aging nuclear reprocessing plant. Some of the tanks from the 1950s contain high-level radioactive nuclear waste, known as “highly-active liquor” (HAL), dating back more than 40 years. Up to 1,000 cubic metres of could now be stored at Sellafield.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) believes an accident will release seven times the amount of radioactive fallout as Chernobyl, with catastrophic consequences for western Norway’s food industry.

This prompted Norwegian Minister of the Environment, Erik Solheim, to visit the facility yesterday, together with Stavanger Mayor Leif Johan Sevland and Torill Selsvold Nyborg, Mayor of Hordaland County.

Mr Solheim has previously called on UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, “to consider a moratorium on further reprocessing until the present inventory of such waste is made safe.”

Mr Huhne was not present at Sellafield to greet the Norwegian delegation, but was represented by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Jonathan Marland.

Unrealistic?

Meanwhile, Sellafield staff claim they will be able to reduce the amount of HAL to 200 cubic metres by 2014, but Nils Bøhmer believes this will be a struggle.

“All I was told that there are new regulations, not how they plan to achieve this, or the reasons for their optimistic prognosis.”

Saying, “I hope this reluctance to reveal information was only a one-off”, Mr Bøhmer hopes to get more details as promised when he attends next Wednesday’s meeting in Lofoten between representatives from Sellafield and the NRPA. The Ambassador to the UK, some Nordic parliamentarians, and other interested parties will also be present.

“Lack of transparency is only likely to cause speculation about whether the British have something they are trying to hide,” he continues.

During yesterday’s meeting, UK authorities promised to stress test Sellafield and go through security routines.

Sellafield will also be the topic of a Liberal Party-led (V) Norwegian Parliamentary hearing scheduled for Thursday next week.



Published on Friday, 8th April, 2011 at 11:29 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 8th April 2011 at 20:42.

This post has the following tags: eriksolheim, bellona, sellafieldsafetyconcerns, nilsboehmer, chrishuhne, lordjonathanmarland.





  
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