L2. The Windscale Works, Back View. The Windscale plutonium reprocessing complex (now called Sellafield) began producing plutonium for Britain's early nuclear weapons program and still produces plutonium today. Irradiated fuel from Britain, Italy, and Japan is dissolved in boiling nitric acid and the plutonium is chemically separated from the highly radioactive fission products. Here, two pipes covered with cement slabs exit the back end of the Windscale plant and extend three kilometers into the Irish Sea where, at a depth of 15 metres, they discharge low-level radioactive wastewater. Windscale has been flushing liquid radioactive effluent contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive isotopes into the Irish Sea for over 30 years. The Irish Sea has become one of the most radioactively contaminated bodies of water on the planet. Seascale, Cumbria, England. 6 September 1981.
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