– Disappointing Sellafield-meeting

Meacher har snakket mye med Brende de siste to årene. Vil Bellona sitt forslag stoppe munnen hans?

Publish date: May 15, 2003

Written by: Erik Martiniussen

The Norwegian Minister for the environment Mr Børge Brende expressed disappointment after this afternoon’s meeting about Sellafield-discharges with his British counterpart Mr Michael Meacher. Bellona Foundation will now investigate the possibilities to keep the British authorities liable for Norwegian enterprises’ financial losses.

The two environmental ministers met to discuse the possible ceasing of the controversial discharges of radioactive Technetium-99 from the Sellafield reprocessing plant.

In front of today’s meeting Bellona worked out a diplomatic key, intended to make a way out of the tangled Sellafield-case. The two environmental ministers have had several meetings, yet without any results.

Nothing from Meacher
During the two-hour meeting the British environmental minister several times had to consult his advisors.

Even though Mr Meacher had no principle arguments against a one-year moratorium on the Tc-99 discharges, he did not want to consider it. Instead, Mr Meacher promised a quick treatment of the case.

Sellafield is planing to discharge a future batch of 30 Terrabecquerel (TBq) of Tc-99 this summer.

Earlier today, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Mr Kjell Magne Bondevik, also raised the Sellafield issue, during his talks with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

A British argument against taking the radioactive Tc-99 on shore has been concerns about Tc-99 might leek out of a future repository in 50,000 years. Mr. Brende told Norwegian NRK Radio that Great Britain is more concerned over possible radioactive emissions ashore in 50,000 years, than they are about today’s actual discharge into the Irish Sea.

Bellona’s response
Commenting on the meeting, Mr Frederic Hauge, director of the Bellona Foundation said today: "It is quite arrogant of the British Minister to meet Mr Brende yet another time without any solution to the ever continuous radioactive discharges."

"To clean out Tc-99 does not cost more than 3.5 million pounds. That is quite cheap, considering the losses the Norwegian fishing-industry now might face because of the troublesome Tc-99 discharges."

Earlier this year Bellona wrote a letter to British Nuclear Fuel, or BNFL, about a possible lawsuit because of economic losses related to depreciated commodity values and lost markets caused by the discharges from Sellafield. Bellona will now carefully investigate this possibility together with Norwegian fishing and harvesting industry.