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Fears arose over safety at Sellafield reprocessing site.

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A secret counter-terrorism review of Britain's nuclear power plants is under way after fears arose over safety at the giant Sellafield reprocessing site.

A mild earthquake has struck the Sellafield-area.

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A mild earthquake has struck Cumbria and surrounding areas.

What is at Sellafield?

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Two 'Windscale Piles', reactors built in the 1940s to produce plutonium for British nuclear weapons and for the civil nuclear power programme. The first British nuclear bomb, exploded in 1952, used plutonium from Windscale. They were opened in 1951. One of them went on fire in 1957, when 400,000 curies of radioactivity were released to the atmosphere and 2 million litres of milk were dumped. The loss of life was officially estimated in 1982 as 32 and unofficially in 1990 as over 1000. This fire was linked rightly or wrongly to cases of Down's Syndrome in Dundalk. The Pile which went on fire could not be re-opened and the other one was also closed for reasons of safety. They are being gradually dismantled, but this is not expected to be completed before 2050 because of the amount of radioactivity involved.

Visit to Sellafield in December 2010

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Short report from Sellafield visit:
Satisfied with the focus on safety and security from the management at Sellafield Ltd.
Not satisfied with the development at B215: 21 High Activity Storage Tanks (HAST) containing almost 1000 cubic metres of radioactive waste (Highly Active Liquor) arising from reprocesssing. Because of radioactivity the waste is self-heating and could boil off if cooling was interrupted for half a day. The waste could escape in liquid or gaseous form.