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Nuclear plants in UK will have no health impact on Irish population – report

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Sellafield is regarded as the UK's largest and most hazardous nuclear site

Sellafield is regarded as the UK's largest and most hazardous nuclear site

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Sellafield is regarded as the UK's largest and most hazardous nuclear site

THE day-to-day operations of eight proposed nuclear power plants in the UK will have no effect on the health of our population, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) said today.

But a severe accident would require the population to shelter in their homes for up to two days, food controls to be put in place and the likelihood of increases in cancer rates.

The British government plans to build eight plants - five on the coastline of Irish Sea - up to 2025, and the RPII this morning published a study into likely health effects.

Chief executive Dr Ann McGarry said that in a severe accident, with a one in 33 million probability, would impact on the economy.

People could be hit with  18,000 units of radiation - more than four times the annual average dose.

"Severe radiological effects in Ireland are unlikely, but a socio-economic impact will be seen in the event of severe accident," Dr McGarry said.

"Food controls and agricultural protection measures would need to be imposed.  In severe accidents, sheltering would be required for 24-48 hours after the accident."

Just one of the plants has been given planning permission.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan will raise the report with UK authorities.

Online Editors