It will take more than 100 years before the toxic nuclear
site at Sellafield is safe, it has been revealed.
The UK’s largest atomic power station, overlooking the Irish
Sea, will not be completely clean until 2120. A report from
Westminster’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned that
the cost of decommissioning all nuclear plants was likely
to rise because successive governments and the industry found
it easy to push costs on to future taxpayers.
Anti-Sellafield protester and South Down SDLP MP Eddie McGrady
said - “The nuclear waste is a time bomb waiting to happen.
They are not only producing - but importing - the dirty stuff
from the rest of the world, it is incredible.”
Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is expected to end by
2020, but it will take years for radioactivity levels inside
unused reactors to fall to safe limits. The buildings will
have to be demolished and the site readied for possible redevelopment.
Martin Forwood, campaign organiser at lobby group Cumbrians
Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said he accepted
there would be a lengthy delay. “I suspect that they will
decommission power stations much quicker than under the original
plan” - he said. “The French or the Japanese think they can
do it in 40-50 years.”
He admitted the clean-up operation would take decades.
A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said - “Sellafield isn’t a
place that can just be closed down. It is about the removal
of plant and equipment from the building, it is about decontaminating
and knocking them down - that takes decades.
“A lot of work has been done - but, with a site as complex
as Sellafield, that will take a long time to do carefully
and safely, which is the priority and can’t be compromised