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Sellafield alert sparks renewed calls for its closure

By Staff Reporter

A security alert at Sellafield has sparked fresh demands to close down the nuclear facility just across the Irish Sea.

Army bomb specialists were called to the reprocessing plant to deal with hazardous chemicals found in a laboratory.

The chemicals, contained within a number of canisters, were discovered during an audit of the lab at the site in Cumbria.

They were industrial solvents, such as Tetrahydrofuran, which are potentially flammable in liquid states and can crystallise and become unstable when exposed to air.

None of the chemicals were nuclear or radiological materials, a spokesman for Sellafield said.

After the discovery of the chemicals, which had been stored in the lab since 1992, the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team were called out on Saturday night to assess the situation.

The bomb disposal officers returned yesterday morning to help dispose of the chemicals safely.

The spokesman said the Army team will dig a trench, bury the canisters using sandbags, and detonate them in a controlled manner.

South Down Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard called for the plant to be closed.

"Today's incident at Sellafield once again highlights the extreme risk and danger this major nuclear installation poses to society and our environment," he said.

"Sellafield should be closed immediately. This incident follows years of controversy about concerns regarding safety and dangerously low staffing levels.

"Ireland, and South Down in particular, is on the front line of the threat posed by Sellafield."

Belfast Telegraph

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