RISKS OF TRANSPORTING MOX
Sir, - While it is understandable that many people are concerned about the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at Sellafield and trading in its main product, plutonium, it is not reasonable to say that the "Irish Sea won't be usable for the next 10,000 years" should a ship transporting mixed oxide fuel (MOX) sink in it.
These were the words of a prominent member of the Poolbeg Yacht and Motor Boat Club as reported by Marie O'Halloran in your edition of September 10th.
There would be no radiological effect on the Irish Sea even if the ship were to remain on the sea bed for some time. This is because the capsules in which the material is transported are designed and tested to withstand the hydraulic pressure at the bottom of the Irish Sea and deeper. Even if they did leak, it would take a very long time for any contamination to occur and then it would be slight because of the physical and chemical form of the fuel. But for certain the capsules would not remain on the bottom for long before being recovered by their owners.
Are there not enough real worries to worry about without having to deal with mythical ones? - Yours, etc.,