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Sabotaged nuclear plant to be investigated

Source: AFP | Published: Sunday March 26, 10:16 AM

LONDON - An investigation was underway today into the deliberate damage of equipment at Britain's troubled Sellafield nuclear power plant, officials said.

Officials said they had asked police from Britain's Atomic Energy Authority to investigate after a cable was cut on a robotic arm on a maintenance tool, which allows the equipment to be used from a remote location.

A spokeswoman for British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), which runs Sellafield, said: 'BNFL takes this issue very seriously and the company will initiate appropriate proceedings if any individual or individuals are proven to have caused this damage deliberately.'

Sellafield, which opened on the Cumbrian coast in northwest England in the 1950s, has faced a barrage of criticism since a Nuclear Installations Inspectorate report last month found quality control data on mixed uranium and plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel rods had been falsified.

Since then Japan has ordered the return of a shipment of MOX fuel, Germany has suspended imports of the fuel from Britain, Switzerland has suspended shipments of nuclear waste to Sellafield's reprocessing centre, and the United States announced it was sending a team of investigators to review procedures at the plant.

-- Martin Thompson (, March 25, 2000

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