Irish angered by potential threat

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The Independent Online
An Irish government minister yesterday expressed anger at the allegedly deficient running of Wylfa nuclear power station in the latest attack on what is seen as a widespread threat to Ireland's environmental safety from British west coast nuclear facilities.

Eamon Gilmore, junior minister for the marine, said he was "appalled" by the suggestions that a melt-down at the Anglesey plant had only been narrowly avoided after an accident in 1993.

Wylfa was only 50 miles from Dublin, he said, and the incident could have led to a civil disaster. The greater Dublin area is home to a third of the Irish Republic's 3.6 million population.

The Irish government was "not at all happy" with the apparent risks posed to the Irish people by the British nuclear industry. "You can take it that this is something that will be raised between the Irish and British governments," he said.

The minister said international agreements on nuclear activity would have to take account of the views of neighbouring states, arguing the effects of a disaster at Wylfa would not have been restricted to Britain.

"That is not sufficiently reflected in the Euratom Treaty and other international agreements on shipments of nuclear fuel," he warned. Mr Gilmore, whose responsibilities include marine pollution, said Dublin had in recent months launched a diplomatic offensive over British nuclear activities.

The minister said Ireland would seek changes in treaty regulations on nuclear fuel movements to give neighbouring states more powers at this week's meeting of the International Maritime Organisation. He suggested Dublin may also try to bring the issue before international courts.