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Accident closes nuclear reactors

From AFP July 16, 2001 BRITAIN'S nuclear power company said it will shut down three nuclear reactors due to an accident in one of its plants in which 12 radioactive fuel rods were still missing.

The reactors at the Chapelcross plant near Annan in Scotland will be gradually shut down over the next week after the company revealed that 24 fuel rods had dropped 15 metres inside a discharge chute in the plant on July 5.

A spokesman for the plant said they've been able to locate half of the rods that've been dislodged and they desperately need to find the other 12.

A spokesman for British Nuclear Fuels insisted there is no danger to public safety.

The uranium rods fell during a routine operation to change the fuel cells.

A spokeswoman for environmental protest group Greenpeace denounced the accident as a timely reminder of the dangers of nuclear power".

The Scottish parliament's shadow deputy environment minister, Fiona McLeod, joined the criticism, saying the latest incident is simply another example of the inherent dangers of nuclear power.

-- Martin Thompson (, July 16, 2001

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