Process to cut waste at Sellafield

The radioactivity routinely discharged from Sellafield and absorbed in lobsters and other shellfish as far away as Norway will be reduced by 90% from today after a new waste treatment begins.

The radioactivity routinely discharged from Sellafield and absorbed in lobsters and other shellfish as far away as Norway will be reduced by 90% from today after a new waste treatment begins.
Years of pressure from the fishing industries of Ireland and Norway, ended in British Nuclear Fuels spending £12m on a chemical system to extract the technetium-99.

At first BNFL had said it could not devise a system that did not entail excessive cost, but yesterday the company announced a breakthrough that would enable Tc99 to be converted into solid waste, then kept on land.

All Tc99 discharges from Sellafield will now be cut by 90%, the company said.

Tc99 began turning up in ever-increasing quantities in lobsters, first off Cumbria and then from the Irish Sea, North Sea and off Norway.

The Irish government and environmentalists still want the waste stream stopped entirely. Pete Roche of Greenpeace said: "What we need now is an end to all reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel."