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Closed down a vital nuclear waste plant at Sellafield

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has closed down a vital nuclear waste plant at Sellafield and is taking legal action to force the site's operators to improve their flawed safety procedures.

The crackdown by the government's safety watchdog on Britain's biggest and oldest nuclear complex follows a series of radioactive leaks and safety blunders, despite private sector managers receiving multimillion-pound "performance-related" payments from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The HSE has also rejected a £40bn plan for cleaning up Sellafield because of proposed delays in dismantling ageing and potentially hazardous facilities.

The Guardian newspaper says the disclosures come at a critical time for the nuclear industry which is trying to convince Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, it is efficient enough to build a new generation of reactors.

But the latest development is is also embarrassing because Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) – a conso…