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Full details of the government's announcement yesterday on the future of Sellafield are as follows. ...
Full details of the government's announcement yesterday on the future of Sellafield are as follows.

Environment Secretary John Gummer said: 'Our responsibilities under the Act require us to consider whether any local authority or other person should be offered a hearing. On this point Gillian Shepherd and I have come to the view that the extensive consultation already carried out, first by the Inspectorates and then by ourselves, has provided an adequate opportunity for people to make full and informed representations.'

He continued: 'My Rt Hon Friend and I have decided not to hold a hearing or a public inquiry, not least because we are satisfied that no issues have been raised which would cause us to conclude that further consultation or debate is necessary.

'In reaching our decisions, we have been conscious that any major undertaking to provide fuel for energy production or to manage the wastes from energy production carries some element of risk. While risk cannot be eliminated entirely it must always be minimised.

'In the case of nuclear installations, it is the policy of the United Kingdom to ensure that any radioactive discharges do not result in the public receiving doses in excess of internationally agreed limits designed to protect their health and furthermore that these doses are kept as low as reasonably achievable.

'In reaching a decision on the authorisations we have taken account of all the documents circulated, the responses to the further consultation, and further advice from Government departments and other public bodies. We have considered first the narrow issues relating to the impact of the proposed authorisations on health and the environment. We believe that it is only these issues which are legally relevant to our statutory duties.

'On this basis we have concluded that the discharges permitted by the authorisations would not lead to unacceptable risks to human health or the environment. We have therefore decided that the authorisations should be granted, though we have considered it appropriate to propose a number of amendments in order to ensure that discharges from the site will be minimised.

'Having weighed the various risks and benefits, in particular those arising out of the operation of THORP, my Rt Hon Friend and I have come to a judgement that there is a sufficient balance of advantage in favour of the operation of THORP, and we are satisfied that the activities giving rise to the discharges permitted by the authorisations are justified.

'For the reasons set out in detail in the full decision we have therefore concluded that, had these wider considerations been relevant, we would still have reached the same decision on the authorisations.'

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