The British Government is trying to allay fears about the safety of nuclear transport in the UK in the wake of scares in Germany and Japan two countries that ship highly radioactive material to the UK.
The Japanese Science and Technology Agency recently discovered that inspection data on 39 new spent-fuel flasks had been falsified. Doctoring such data ‘could result in a dangerous accident’, the agency said.
The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has commissioned specialists Nukem Nuclear to carry out an independent survey, to report at the end of March, into the extent of such contamination in the UK. The DETR said the Japanese flasks in question were not licensed for use in the UK.
Meanwhile the German government is demanding stricter procedures before it allows transport of spent fuel from its nuclear plants to resume, after the discovery of more than 3,000 times the permitted level of contamination on flasks last year.
British Nuclear Fuels, which reprocesses German and Japanese spent fuel at Sellafield, said no flask had ever arrived in the UK with the level of contamination found on the German flasks last year.