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More Sellafield Objects On The Way? 23 January 2004

Fifty or more pieces of 'plastic mesh' used by BNFL as pipe coverings have been lost at sea near Sellafield. Some pieces of the plastic material have been washed ashore on the Cumbrian coast and there is a remote possibility a few could reach the Isle of Man. The material was lost due to stormy weather in mid-December, which disturbed a dismantled BNFL steel pipeline stored on the seabed.

The square pieces of white plastic mesh are all of length 50cm (about 20 inches) with a 5 millimetre mesh hole size. If found they will look like crumpled white netting and will be stained by sea sediment. Should any of this plastic mesh reach the Island it is likely to be lost within general beach debris.

BNFL information states that the plastic mesh is not hazardous and should not be contaminated with radioactivity.

Dr Paul McKenna, of the Government Laboratory has made the following comment:

"BNFL believe that this material is clean, however we know it has been in contact with radioactive material and therefore we cannot be 100% certain it is entirely free of contamination. There is only a remote chance that any of this material will reach the Island but we would advise anyone finding any of this plastic mesh on the beach to leave it alone and report it to the Isle of Man Coastguard. It should not be handled until it is checked and proven to be safe."

Anyone finding any of this white plastic mesh can contact the Isle of Man Coastguard on 661664.

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