October 2001

Norway takes tough line over Sellafield

Environment Daily 1087, October 23, 2001

[Posted 25/10/2001]

Barely three days into the job, Norway's new environment minister has identified a long-standing dispute with Britain over radioactive pollution from the Sellafield nuclear plant as a top priority."I am now in touch with the ministry of foreign affairs and the office of the attorney general to examine whether we have grounds in international conventions and international law to bring a case against the British," Børge Brende told Dagbladet newspaper today.

"This is an issue of the utmost importance to us," he continued. "Discharges of the radioactive substance technetium 99 threaten our food supply. Fish is Norway's second largest export business. We cannot sit still and watch our coastal areas being polluted."

Calling for a meeting with his UK counterpart, Michael Meacher, "as soon as possible", Mr Brende also cited the controversial mixed oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel manufacturing operation at Sellafield as further cause for concern, particularly as it represented "a potential terrorist target."

The minister said he hoped to intensify joint Scandinavian pressure on the issue at a meeting of Nordic ministers in Copenhagen next Tuesday. His statements, which have been widely reported throughout the region, follow recent reports that lobsters caught off the Norwegian coast have registered increased levels of radioactivity.

Follow-up: Dagbladet http://www.dagbladet.no (in norvegian), tel: +47 22 31 06 00.

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