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Bystander virtue

Politicians have learned the joys of international grandstanding

By Richard North   70

The Irish government believes that a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield will contaminate its citizens. It placed an advertisement in The Times in November to say that the plant will be polluting at normal times and very dangerous in exceptional circumstances such as a terrorist attack.

With a nice symmetry, Michael Meacher, the British environment minister, had a few weeks earlier sharply criticised the Bush administration for not signing up to the Kyoto climate change treaty, which aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels (and may thus make nuclear power more attractive).

The point is not whether Britain…

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