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Sizewell: Iodine traces detected in air around power station

PUBLISHED: 10:20 26 April 2011

Demonstrators at the entrance to Sizewell Power station on Saturday afternoon

Demonstrators at the entrance to Sizewell Power station on Saturday afternoon

Archant

RESIDENTS living near a Suffolk nuclear power station have been informed that traces of Iodine have been found in the air around the site.

British Energy, which is part of EDF Energy and runs the power station, has written to people living close by to keep them informed about the discovery, which is not isolated to Suffolk.

Traces of Iodine have been found at stations around the UK in the wake of the Japanese earthquake but Jim Crawford, station director at Sizewell B, said he expected the traces in Suffolk to have disappeared “within a month”.

He said: “We have measured trace quantities of Iodine - 131 in air samplers where none is usually detected, similar readings have been detected at other EDF Energy stations around the country.

“Iondine - 131 is produced by the fission of uranium atoms during operations of nuclear reactors.

“The Environment Agency have told us that findings of this kind are now tailing off and we would expect at this level all traces will have disappeared within a month.”

He said additional monitoring was being carried out and that the samplers showed that only “very low levels” of Iodine - 131 were present.

Mr Crawford said experts had confirmed that the concentration of Iodine was “extremely low” and was not of concern for the public or the environment.

The news came as protesters carried out their third annual beach camp beside the station and again raised fears about the impact of the Japanese disaster.

The camp, part of a weekend of international anti-nuclear awareness action, was organised by the Stop Nuclear Power Network.

Suffolk campaigner Mel Harrison said: “Around the world, people are questioning the safety of nuclear power in the wake of events in Japan.

“We may not have many major earthquakes in England, but the low-lying Suffolk coast is highly vulnerable to flooding, and rising sea levels and storm surges can be expected in years to come due to climate change.
“What right do we have to gamble with our children’s future? What we need are community-based energy solutions, not more nuclear dinosaurs. When it comes to accidents at nuclear power stations its not a case of if but when.”

The camp, which started on Friday and ends today, features workshops, protests and talks and has been attended by campaigners from across the UK.

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