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 Sellafield leak buoys anti nuclear lobby
 The Irish Examiner 15 Apr 2002

By Vivion Kilfeather

THE campaign to close Sellafield moved up a gear yesterday when it emerged that radioactive substances were found in ground samples at the gate of the complex.

The leak is believed to have come from waste storage tanks built more than 40 years ago.

National chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Billy Fitzpatrick said it was the latest in a string of mistakes, many of which British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) had attempted to cover up.

The Irish Sea had long been established as the most radioactive in the world and pollution will only end when the plant is shut down, he warned.

He was speaking after it emerged that Radioactive Technetium 99 has been found in the ground and in ground water samples taken from beside the main gate of the Sellafield complex.

British Nuclear Installation Inspectors (NII) say the discovery appears to confirm that the radioactive waste reached the area beside the gate entrance to the plant as well as outside it.

While a BNFL spokesman claimed the material is not much more than background radiation which poses no public health risk, British nuclear expert John Large warned that the plant should never have been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent.

Mr Fitzpatrick said anti nuclear campaigners were very buoyed by the belated support from the Government and believed the postal campaign was critical and would pay dividends as it was well supported.

An Post is providing more than 1.3 million post cards to the public which are selling at 1 each and will be delivered to the Prime Minister Tony Blair, the head of British Nuclear Fuels Norman Askew and Prince Charles.

The cards are available Post offices, Superquinn, Dunnes Stores, Centra, SuperValu, Champion Sports, Marathon Sports, Wagamamas, Captain America and Nude Restaurants.

An Post has promised to deliver the cards free of charge to coincide with the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and all profits are going to the Chernobyl Children's Project.

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