Sizewell A criticised by environment man

AN ANTI nuclear group has criticised a decision by Environment Minister Michael Meacher to allow the Sizewell A nuclear power station to increase emissions of a radioactive isotope.

AN ANTI nuclear group has criticised a decision by Environment Minister Michael Meacher to allow the Sizewell A nuclear power station to increase emissions of a radioactive isotope.

Mr Meacher has approved proposals to allow the plant to discharge greater volumes of an isotope called Carbon 14 which it is producing in greater volumes as the twin reactors get older.

However, the minister has also rubber-stamped a recommendation from Environment Agency that emission limits on four other isotopes be tightened.

The new limits will come into effect on December 18 and British Nuclear Fuels (BNF) has been working for some months to ensure that it will comply by the deadline.


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The emission limit on Carbon 14 has historically been lower at Sizewell A than at the other magnox nuclear power stations elsewhere in the UK.

However, the isotope began to be produced in greater volumes at the Suffolk plant and, as part of a review of all discharges, BNF asked the Environment Agency to approve a higher emission limit.

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The company also wanted higher limits on two other isotopes but offered to reduce discharge limits on four more.

The agency rejected the idea of higher limits for two of the three isotopes but agreed it in respect of Carbon 14, a decision which has now been ratified by the European Union.

The Environment Agency's Sizewell A site inspector, Paul Naylor, said that the new authorisations generally tightened emission limits at the power station.

"We have had to go through this process for all the magnox power stations and Sizewell A has been leading the way nationally in making sure that the new arrangements will be in place in time," Mr Naylor said.

Robin Thornton, BNF spokesman said: "This has been a lengthy and thorough process but both the Environment Agency and Sizewell A believe the outcome will create great benefits for the environment. We will not only be keeping discharges within the authorised limits but striving as hard as we can to keep them as low as we possibly can."

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said: "It makes a mockery of Government targets for sustainable development and flies in the face of an international agreement to achieve zero emissions by the year 2020."

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