Radioactive lobsters put squeeze on Sellafield

British Nuclear Fuels is facing a new controversy over its Sellafield works in Cumbria. Levels of the radioactive isotope technetium-99 in lobsters close to the works have risen 40-fold since 1993 - and now far exceed EC standards for contamination of food after a nuclear accident. Radioactive doses to local seafood consumers have been rising steeply since BNFL commissioned a new enhanced actinide removal plant (EARP) in 1994. The Environment Agency has now asked BNFL to consider ways of reducing technetium-99 discharges from the plant - but the company is also under pressure to maintain throughput to meet the safety concerns of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and avoid disrupting the reprocessing of spent Magnox reactor fuel.

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