Contaminated seaweed has been discovered on a beach near the Sellafield Nuclear Plant in Cumbria.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland has voiced concern over the discovery which British Nuclear Fuels (BNF) claims is not dangerous. BNF admits that they are responsible for the contaminated seaweed but can not explain how it happened.

The radioactive seaweed was first discovered last March and larger quantities were discovered again in April when routine monitoring was carried out.

Nick Coverdale of BNF says that the levels of radioactivity are within acceptable limits describing it as,

A perfectly natural phenomenon that occurs from time to time.

BNF discharges liquid effluent from Sellafield into the Irish Sea. This effluent comes from storage ponds on the site which contains radioactivity. The contaminated seaweed was found on beaches near a Sellafield outlet pipe.

Environmental groups are annoyed that they were not informed about the contamination earlier. Anti-nuclear protestor Martin Forward says that BNF are playing down the discovery and that we do not know how much other contamination has taken place in the past.

This incidence is likely to lead to further opposition to Sellafield and lead to more calls for its closure.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 May 1992. The reporter is Brian O'Connell.