BNFL ship Pacific Pintail arrived this morning to port with its cargo of rejected plutonium fuel at the end of its voyage from Takahama, Japan.
For the second time in as many days, yachts from the Nuclear
Free Irish Sea Flotilla have protested the transport of nuclear
materials through the Irish Sea.
This plutonium transport has earned the reputation as the
world's most controversial nuclear shipment. Over 80 governments
have condemned it, citing environmental, security and safety
En route countries called for the transport not to enter their
200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a call which fell on deaf
ears. Even on the final leg of its journey, the BNFL transport was
less than 30 miles from the Irish coast when it encountered the
Irish Sea Flotilla yesterday afternoon.
As the Pacific Pintail, carrying its cargo of rejected plutonium
mixed oxide (MOX), approached Barrow through the Walney Channel it
encountered a peaceful protest with a simple message - "Stop
Nuclear Transports". The boats involved in today's protest were
from the Republic of Ireland, Britain and the Isle of Man and were
there to represent the views of millions of people living along the
Irish Sea coastline.
The ships were escorted through the Walney Channel by a large
police launch, seven police inflatables and at least one security
helicopter. The yachts from the Nuclear Free Irish Sea Flotilla
fell into formation behind the Pacific Pintail once the nuclear
freighter carrying the cask of rejected plutonium MOX had passed
them between Peel Island and Roa Island at the entrance to the
Channel. The yachts got within 200 metres of the first set of lock
"The Flotilla is a partnership of individual seafarers who use
the Irish Sea," said Dr Warren Scott skipper of the yacht Swn y Mor
from Glasson Dock. "We wish to let BNFL and the UK and Japanese
Governments know that we are no longer willing to sit back and
allow the Irish Sea, or any sea, to be used as a nuclear
The Government of Ireland which normally has good relations with
the UK, has begun a legal challenge against the reprocessing
operations at Sellafield through the United Nations International
Tribunal on the Law of the Sea and has also instigated arbitration
through the Oslo Paris Convention (OSPAR), a treaty dealing with
the prevention of pollution in the north east Atlantic.
"This plutonium shipment has reached pariah status. BNFL and the
UK Government have once again put at risk the environment and
security of millions of people around the planet for what? A
bankrupt business that will drain billions from the UK taxpayer
over the coming decades while continuing to increase its mountain
of stocks of weapons-usable plutonium. This was a wholly
unjustified and shameful transport and it must be the last," said
John Bowler of Greenpeace, in Barrow.
The casks of faulty plutonium will complete their journey to
Sellafield by rail, where they should stay.