Whitehaven News

JAPANESE MISSION FOR JACK-IN-THE-MOX MP

Friday, January 26, 2001

COPELAND's MP Jack Cunningham will head for Japan soon to try and help BNFL win new business for its controversial Mox fuel operations. But the former Cabinet Enforcer will be acting not for BNFL but the Sort Out Sellafield campaign, which is concerned about the potentially devastating effects on West Cumbria, if Sellafield fails to restore its fortunes.

International confidence in BNFL - and Sellafield - reached its lowest ever ebb last year following the falsification of MOX fuel data.

The affair also cast more doubts on whether the government would licence a new 300million Mox production plant and a long-delayed decision is still awaited from deputy prime minister, John Prescott.

Now Dr Cunningham plans to go to Japan "in the near future" on behalf of the Sort Out Sellafield campaign which has asked him to illustrate to the Japanese the sound progress made at Sellafield since the MOX fiasco.

The Sort Out Sellafield group - Dr Cunningham is its chairman - is also calling for a high-level meeting with senior nuclear inspectors.

Dr Cunningham said: "We have every faith in the Sellafield management and work force but we must remain vigilant - this is in the near and long-term interests of the Sellafield site and BNFL as a whole. There is still much to do."

n Dr Cunningham has been told that 188 nuclear jobs at Sellafield are safe following AEA Technology's decision to sell off its nuclear business.

The MP said he now had assurances in writing about the future of the 188 Sellafield-based AEA Technology employees but he would monitor the position closely.