Britain's Trade Secretary has announced that he is setting up an inquiry into claims that nuclear workers who died in the 1960s & 70s had body parts removed without their families' knowledge.

The workers died in suspicious circumstances at the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria.

Alistair Darling has told MPs at Westminster that BNFL, which operated the plant, had records of 65 cases where tissue was taken and analysed.

Two trades unions representing Sellafield workers had called for the inquiry after learning that between the early 1960s and early 90s the body parts of up to 70 workers who had died had been removed for medical examination.

In at least some of these cases it is claimed this was done without the permission of the families concerned.

Alistair Darling told MPs that while BNFL had a record of 65 cases where tissue had been taken and analysed, they were medical records and that it was not possible to determine whether proper consent had been obtained.

Leading barrister Michael Redfern QC, who chaired an inquiry into the retention of children's body parts at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, will lead the Sellafield investigation.