Gummer to rule on Sellafield

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The Independent Online
JOHN GUMMER, the new Secretary of State for the Environment, faces a tough decision on whether to give the go-ahead to the Thorp nuclear re-processing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, after an official report found no safety reason for blocking the project, writes Stephen Castle.

After consultations, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution has confirmed its original draft authorisation for the plant, deciding that the discharges expected from routine operations will be within acceptable bounds.

With Mr Gummer regarded as broadly sympathetic to the nuclear industry, the report opens the way for Government approval, which would enrage environmental groups, and possibly give rise to a legal challenge. A Cabinet committee, with representatives from several other departments, will discuss the issue, probably next week. A key consideration will be whether ministers allow public hearings or further consultations.