DOUNREAY, SCOTLAND, October 9 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – The Scottish Government needs to be given the powers to implement stricter environmental reforms, Pete Roche, Policy Adviser to the Scottish Nuclear Free Local Authorities (SNFLA) told RIA Novosti Thursday.
"The Scottish Government's policy of near site, near surface storage of waste, rather than disposal, is the right one, but it needs the powers to implement it more effectively," Roche said, noting that "even after we have closed down all the nuclear sites in Scotland we will still have a legacy of nuclear waste to deal with for hundreds of years to come".
According to Roche, "the way to reduce risks and the number of accidents is to adhere to a strict code of environmental principals when dealing with the waste".
"These would include, for instance the proximity principle - dealing with the waste as close to where it is produced as possible; and concentrating and containing waste rather than diluting and dispersing it throughout the environment," Roche said.
Recently, three separate nuclear-related incidents occurred in and around Scotland.
On Monday, it was revealed that graphite bricks within one of the core reactors at Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Ayrshire were showing signs of cracking. Nuclear safety experts are still to determine what is causing the problem and questions have been raised over the safety and future life of the nuclear power plant.
On Tuesday, The Parida cargo vessel, carrying nuclear waste from Scotland to Belgium, caught fire and started drifting in the North Sea amid poor weather conditions. A nearby oil platform was evacuated as a precaution before the fire was brought under control and the vessel was towed to the Port of Cromarty Firth.
On Wednesday, a fire was reported at the Dounreay nuclear power plant in the far north of Scotland. The blaze occurred in one of the plant's reactors and took 30 minutes to extinguish.
Tina Wrighton, a spokesperson for the plant's operator, Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), told RIA Novosti that there had been another fire at the facility in March involving "lightly contaminated waste".
The last major nuclear accident in the United Kingdom took place at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in April 2005. As a result of the accident, 20,000 kilograms (about 44,000 pounds) of uranium and 160 kilograms (350 pounds) of plutonium leaked from a cracked pipe at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant contained within the Sellafield site. The cost of decontamination following the accident was reported to stand at $65 million.
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