AN ANTI-nuclear group has expressed concerns about the removal of giant boilers from Berkeley Power Station.

Dozens of people lined the streets of Berkeley last month to watch the removal of five 310-tonne boilers from the shut nuclear plant.

The boilers were taken by road to Sharpness, where they were sent by boat to Sweden to be decontaminated and recycled.

However, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) group said it has concerns about the policy of transporting nuclear waste long distances, and the potential ‘dilution and dispersal’ of the materials, with much of the recycled steel going back into the consumer chain.

In March the boilers travelled by road four miles to Sharpness Docks where they were shipped to Avonmouth dockyard before travelling to Sweden.

Cllr Brian Goodall, chairman of the NFLA, said: "This NFLA briefing highlights the continuing concern we have with the moves across the nuclear sector to transport radioactive materials long distances for decontamination rather than deal with the waste management safely on or near the site.

"It concerns me greatly that this first shipment may set a precedent for many more shipments from Berkeley and other UK decommissioned reactors to Sweden, with all the accompanying risks."

Independent marine pollution consultant Tim Deere-Jones, on behalf of the NFLA, has asked the nuclear authorities to provide additional details about the boilers’ design, their radioactivity content and information about a 1990s trial project for dismantling the boilers at the Berkeley site.

A spokesman for Magnox, which runs the Berkeley nuclear site, said a detailed assessment was conducted before the removal, ruling out other options.

The spokesman said: "The transfer of the Berkeley Boilers to Sweden for treatment and return of secondary wastes to the UK has been authorised by the Environment Agency as the Competent Authority under the Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Regulations 2008."

He added that authorisation was also given by the Department for Transport. The transport arrangements also meet the requirements of the UK Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations and the international requirements for sea transport that are set out by the International Maritime Organisation.