NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Irish Government has responded to a query from the Celtic League relating to safety issues at the Sellafield nuclear plant. The League had written to them in late November 2014.
The Irish and British now have in place an agreement whereby Irish Environmental Protection Agency staff (EPA) meet regularly with UK counterparts in relation to the accident prone nuclear facility on the Cumbria coast.
The League specifically asked if the Irish government or EPA had made any representations about the deteriorating state of storage ponds at the plant (see link below).
The Environment Minister Private Secretary though not responding directly on that issue says that “Ireland will continue to be vigilant in relation to Sellafield as work to decommission the site over the lifetime of the “Sellafield Plan” continues.
The Celtic League welcome the substantive response from the Ministers Office but regret the substantive issue in relation to the ‘Sellafield Ponds’ has been avoided. We will therefore consider a FOI request to the UK government to try to get to the bottom of the matter.
The text of the letter from the Department of Environment Community and Local Government is set out below:
“22 January 2015
Dear Mr. Moffatt,
The Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government has policy responsibility for nuclear safety issues, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Office of Radiological Protection (formally the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland) monitors routine operational discharges from Sellafield.
Department officials and the (EPA) meet regularly with their counterparts from the UK to discuss radiological matters of mutual interest, including issues associated with the Sellafield site. At these meetings Irish officials ensure that the UK authorities are kept aware of any concerns held by Ireland, and emphasize that all possible steps are taken to ensure that the highest levels of safety apply at Sellafield, and at any other relevant nuclear site. Irish officials will continue to ensure that the UK authorities are kept aware of any concerns held by Ireland, and to ask that the highest levels of safety apply at Sellafield.
Where the need arises, the Minister may choose to meet with his UK counterpart the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to discuss matters of mutual interest on nuclear and radiation matters.
The EPA carries out rigorous and continuous testing to ensure that environmental radiation remains within internationally agreed safety limits. As part of this, the EPA monitors routine operational discharges from Sellafield and keeps the Government informed of their potential implications for Ireland. These tests ensure that the Government is quickly aware of any change in environmental radiation in Ireland, and able to provide the public with any health warnings and protection advice necessary. The programme combines round-the-clock measurements from the permanent monitoring
network and a programme of sampling followed by laboratory testing. Measurements are taken from the air, the marine environment, food products and drinking water.
In November 2012, the Department of Environment Community and Local Government published the summary of a report prepared by an independent team of international experts, commissioned by Ireland, which assessed the probable risks to Ireland from incidents at the Sellafield nuclear site. The experts looked at the likelihood of incidents occurring at Sellafield, and as stated in the public summary, an incident at the Sellafield site resulting in the release of radioactive material would give rise to “no observable health effects in Ireland”. This public summary document is available on the Department’s website at www.environ.ie.
Irish officials and international experts used by Ireland to author the Probabilistic Risk Analysis report have visited the Sellafield site. freland will continue to be vigilant in relation to Sellafield as work to decommission the site over the lifetime of the “Sellafield Plan” continues”
Related link at celticleague.net news archive:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Repost date of dispatch corrected)
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
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