Farmers still cramped by Chernobyl nuke fallout

London, May 13:

Nearly 370 farms in Britain are still restricted in the way they use land and rear sheep because of radioactive fallout of the Chernobyl accident 23 years ago, the government has admitted.

Environmentalists have seized on the figures as proof of the enormous dangers posed by nuclear power as the UK moves towards building a new generation of plants around the country.

Dawn Primarolo, minister for health, revealed 369 farms and 190,000 sheep were affected, but said this was a tiny number compared with the immediate impact of radioactive fallout from Ukraine. “This represents a reduction of over 95 per cent since 1986, when approximately 9,700 farms and 4,225,000 sheep were under restriction across the United Kingdom. All restrictions in Northern Ireland were lifted in 2000,” she added.

Critic of the nuclear industry David Lowry, of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, said the figures demonstrated the “unforgiving hazards” of radioactivity dispersed into the environment, whether from Chernobyl in Ukraine, 23 years ago, or over decades from the Faslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland.

He said: “Ministers describe nuclear power as ‘clean and green’, as they press for up to 11 new reactors to be built across England and Wales. But these latest figures on the Chernobyl fallout give the lie to these claims. Breach of containment accident at Sellafield’s high activity liquid radioactive waste storage tanks would release many times Chernobyl’s radioactivity.