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Radiation Tests on Local Seafood show pollution from Sellafield is detectable but not hazardous 5 September 2005

    The Department of Local Government and the Environment has published the latest results of the ongoing radiation monitoring by the Government Laboratory. The annual report for 2004, details the results of tests on locally produced foods such as seafood, milk and meat products. The results were reassuring as no hazardous level of radioactivity was found in any of the foods examined.

    Radioactive contamination from Sellafield is still detectable in local seafood, although tests show that contamination of lobsters by Technetium-99 is now less than half the peak level found in 1998 largely due to BNFL's actions to cut Sellafield’s discharges into the Irish Sea. The Department expects levels to drop further as BNFL is now using better effluent treatment technology. Manx consumers who eat appreciable quantities of local seafood are unlikely to receive more than 2% of the acceptable radiation exposure limit for the general public.

    The monitoring work carried out by the Government Laboratory also extends to the general environment. During 2004, the background radiation levels were measured in harbour basins and on beaches and were found to be consistently low. Although Technetium-99 is also found at low concentrations in seaweed collected from the shoreline, it does not constitute a hazard to people using the Island’s beaches for recreation. Environment Minister, John Rimington, commenting on publication of the latest report said:

    “The fact that traces of radioactivity can be detected in local seafood is due to the fuel reprocessing at Sellafield. Although the radiation levels detected are not hazardous. I do not regard any level of radioactive pollution to be acceptable to the people of the Isle of Man. Of course Sellafield’s THORP plant is presently closed as a result of the serious spillage of radioactive material reported in April 2005. Following that incident, Isle of Man Government informed the UK Government of our long held concerns over operational safety at Sellafield and that we do not wish to see the THORP plant restarted. I am also concerned that a great deal of foreign nuclear material is being transported back and forth through the Irish Sea and the Department will continue to object to this.
    Isle of Man Government wishes to see an end to all reprocessing and fuel manufacturing at Sellafield and I will certainly continue to campaign against both the radioactive pollution of the Irish Sea and the unnecessary reprocessing activities – there is always the risk of an accident and the escape of radioactivity from the site”.

    The 2004 Radiation Monitoring Report is available on the Department's website at:

    5th September 2005

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