OSLO, Norway --A sharp increase in radioactive waste from Britain's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been detected in Norwegian waters, the state Radiation Protection Board reported.
Board member Per Strand said levels of radioactive technetium have increased eight-fold off Norway's west coast in the past year and that the material came from Sellafield on the coast of northwestern England.
``We traced it across the North Sea, and around Scotland almost all the way to Sellafield,'' Strand said. ``We have now shown that it has reached Norway.'' Norway, and many other European countries, had protested sharply when the British government in 1994 allowed the plant to increase emissions into the ocean. The countries feared the radioactive material would reach their waters. Strand said levels of technetium remained low and were not an immediate danger. But marine life, including shellfish that humans eat, accumulate the material and could have higher concentrations, he said.
The Sellafield nuclear plant is about 210 miles northwest of London and more than 500 miles from Norway's west coast.
The Norwegian environment ministry said it would await the board's full report, expected this month, before taking further action.
Technetium can be used as a superconductor, to protect metals from corrosion and in medical equipment as a tracer.
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