Sellafield chemical leak kills fish

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Thousands of young fish and eels were killed by a chemical leak from British Nuclear Fuels' Sellafield plant in Cumbria yesterday.

A faulty valve allowed caustic soda solution to escape from a storage tank and flow down a drain into a stretch of the River Calder near the sea. It turned the water alkaline and killed about 1,000 juvenile salmon and sea trout, some 50 adult fish and at least 1,000 eels. British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), which is state-owned, said it deeply regretted the incident but stressed that there was no leakage of any radioactivity. The Government's Environment Agency is investigating, and BNFL said it would co-operate with the agency in restocking the river.