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Solution of Sellafield conflict within reach

The Norwegian Environmental Minister Børge Brende said he believes in the permanent stop of the spillage of radioactive waste materials from the treatment plant Sellafield in March.

The British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) started a test program to clean technetium-99 (Tc99) spillage in the Irish Sea in June 2003 after pressure from Norwegian authorities. The project ended in November, and since June there has been a temporary stop in the emissions.

“It is crucial that they completely stop the emissions of Tc-99,” Brende said after a meeting with his British counterpart Margaret Beckett Wednesday, reports the Norwegian news bureau.

Brende said he now believes that the spillage will be stopped.

The British Environmental Agency and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) have scheduled a meeting to discuss the result of the test project at Sellafield.

“What is unbelievable is that it has been said for several years that it is impossible to clean technetium-99, and that we have to dump it into the sea because storage on land is so unsafe,” Brende said. “We are not going to underestimate the problem, but we got such positive feedback from the British authorities that it appears that we are now heading against a permanent stop in the spillage of Tc99."

He claims that there would not have been any cleaning of Tc-99 if Norway had not gotten involved.

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