Ritchie Says Government Action Required To Protect East Coast Communities From Radioactive Discharge


South Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has said that Government intervention is now required to protect communities on the eastern coast of Ireland from the harmful impacts of ongoing leaks of radioactive discharges from the Sellafield nuclear re-processing plant. Ms Ritchie said that we run the risk of Sellafield  becoming the world’s dump for contaminated and toxic radioactive waste.

[caption id="attachment_33754" align="alignleft" width="240"]South Down MP Margaret Ritchie is concerned at the level of radiation from Sellafield may hard East Coast communities in County Down. South Down MP Margaret Ritchie is concerned at the level of radiation from Sellafield may harm east coast communities in County Down.[/caption]

She said: “The British Government must stop ignoring the harmful impact of indiscriminate discharges of radioactive waste into the Irish Sea from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant which have been happening for decades. They now must take immediate action in the wake of ongoing floods and coastal erosion experienced by many communities in Ireland and Britain over the last few months.

“Whilst such discharges of radioactive waste into the Irish Sea from Sellafield is sadly not a new feature what is new, however, is that the challenges of climate change have now presented a worrying problem.  Managers of a nuclear waste dump on the Cumbrian coast have been ordered to start preparations to defend the site against floods and erosion, amid fears about the leakage of radioactive waste into the Irish Sea.

“All of this is late in the day, of course, when there have been recorded unplanned discharges of such toxic waste into the Irish Sea over the past 30 years.   What is perhaps new is that the nuclear industry is now stuttering it’s way to defend and protect the environment and trying to face down the challenges presented by climate change when they should have been doing this for years.

“Much of the waste buried in vaults and concrete trenches at the Low Level Waste Repository near the village of Drigg in Cumbria, which is a few miles from Sellafield, originates from that plant.   This waste dump is now expected to require flood barriers.  Should this not have been forseen years ago during the whole discussions about the impact of greenhouses gases and climate change on our environment?

“In light of the fact that Sellafield is constructed on a geological fault line… that the impact of climate change, floods and coastal erosion is now more apparent… this area must not become the dump for the world’s radioactive waste – a long time ambition of successive British governments. I will be raising this issue through Parliamentary Questions in  Westminster to ensure that coastal communities in South Down are protected and insulated from the toxic radioactive waste from Sellafield”, added Ms Ritchie.