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Manx Delegation goes to Sellafield 27 August 2003

Minister for Local Government and the Environment Mrs. Pamela M Crowe MLC accompanied by Tynwald Members, Mr. Eddie Lowey, MLC, Mr. Martin Quayle MHK, Mr. Phil Gawne, MHK and Capt. Andrew Douglas MHK made a fact finding visit to Sellafield last week. During their visit they met with BNFL Senior management to hear of the Company's plans for the future of the site. BNFL explained they were strongly committed to changing Company operations from nuclear reprocessing and fuel manufacturing to decommissioning and clean-up of Sellafield. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will become fully operational in April 2005. This new authority created by the UK Government will take responsibility for all the historic nuclear liabilities in the UK including Sellafield.

During their 2 day visit, the Manx delegation were shown the THORP Reprocessing Plant, and a number of waste treatment plants including EARP and the Medium Active Concentrate Tanks which store effluent containing Technetium-99 prior to discharge to the Irish Sea. They were also able to see High Level Waste being vitrified to form glass blocks, suitable for long-term storage on land, and the Vitrification Product Store, which provides safe storage of the glass blocks for at least 50 years before final disposal.

The Minister and her colleagues were all agreed that the visit had been worthwhile in allowing them a better understanding of the options for dealing with the nuclear waste at Sellafield. Mrs. Crowe MLC said, " I was pleased to see the progress that has been made since my last visit, particularly with the vitrification of the high level waste. However, I took the opportunity to convey to BNFL Management our strong objection to the continuing discharge of radioactive waste into the Irish Sea."

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