Britain's radioactive lobsters upset Norway
Thursday 19 March 1998
In an official complaint to Michael Meacher, the environment minister, they say human health and the environment could be at risk from a 50-fold increase in some discharges over just four years.
Their joint demand for cuts in discharges, already rejected by Mr Meacher, follows similar complaints from the Irish government. It also follows a cull last month of seagulls and pigeons in the Sellafield area after their droppings were found to be radioactive.
Some of the heaviest concentrations found during investigations by the Norwegian Radiological Protection Board were in the claw and tail muscle of lobsters, parts which are usually eaten. However, much higher levels of radiation are allowed in British seafood.
The details were revealed in a written Parliamentary answer to Llew Smith, Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, who has been campaigning on the issue.
Anna Lindh, chair of the Nordic Council of Environment Ministers and environment minister for Sweden, told Mr Meacher in a formal letter that the discharges were polluting some of the world's most valuable fishing grounds. Changes under consultation in Britain could result in even higher discharge levels from Sellafield, she said.
According to the Norwegian report, liquid discharges of a substance called Technetium-99 have increased to 50 times their 1994 level, while remaining well inside British safety levels. In the early 1990s, the waste was held back while a new processing plant was completed.
Ms Lindh's letter called for the discharges to be stopped. "The Nordic countries will closely follow the development of this issue," it said.
Mr Meacher replied that the discharges were not radiologically significant either to humans or to other species. The proposed changes would actually lead to a cut in the levels rather than an increase, he said.
"I share the concern of the Nordic countries for protection of the marine environment. While I appreciate that the detection of any levels of radioactivity can give rise to concern, and there is never room for complacency, it is important to consider the radiological impact. The UK is rigorous in adhering to all of the international commitments which it enters into in the field of environmental radioactivity," he said.
Malaysia Airlines plane crash exposes alarming flaw in airline security: over one billion flights made last year without stolen-passport check
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Group: Geography TeacherApril 2014Mate...
£17000 - £30000 per annum + Daily rate TBC: Randstad Education Reading: Teache...
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Group: Secondary Teaching Assistant (EAL...
£55000 per annum + superb benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Want to work in a L...