Nuclear plant closed in alert over waste

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Heightened radioactivity in waste water being discharged into the sea led to one of the two nuclear fuel reprocessing plants at Dounreay, in north Scotland, being shut down at the weekend.

The shutdown, revealed yesterday, is thought to have been caused by a leak in a cooling pipe. Officials at the plant, operated by AEA Ltd, said the excess radioactivity was within authorised limits and posed no danger to the workforce or public.

The plant will be out of action for an unspecified length of time while engineers try to find the cause of the fault. The problem was discovered on Saturday during routine checks. Charles Arthur