Radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria is contaminating shellfish hundreds of kilometres away on the west coast of Scotland, according to a new scientific study.
Scottish researchers discovered traces of radioactive carbon discharged from Sellafield in the shells of mussels, cockles and winkles as far north as Port Appin in Argyll, 160 miles from the notorious nuclear plant.
The findings are a “wake-up call” for anyone who thinks pollution from Sellafield is yesterday’s problem, say campaigners. Sellafield, however, stresses that the contamination is well below safety limits.
The study was carried out by a team of scientists from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in East Kilbride and The Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban. It has been published online in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.
The scientists found raised levels of radioactive carbon-14 in shellfish sampled at Port Appin, at Maidens in South Ayrshire and at Garlieston and Kippford on the Solway coast of Dumfries and Galloway. Mussels were most contaminated “due to the surface environment they inhabit and their feeding behaviour,” they said.