“It’s incredible that the nuclear industry has clearly failed to look after nuclear materials,” Greenpeace scientist Helen Wallace told edie.

The rod was found in the warehouse of a scrap dealership in Tamworth, Staffordshire last month. Scrapyard workers tested the unidentified metal rod and found it to be radioactive. Environment Agency (EA) staff established that the rod contained uranium and ordered it to be taken away for further tests.

The EA says the rod is of a type used in the nuclear electricity generating industry. It appears to be unused and is of low radioactivity.

The EA has so far failed to discover where it came from. “The rod is being analysed at the Atomic Energy Authority’s Winfrith facility to try to find out what it is and where it came from,” an EA spokesperson told edie. “There are a number of theories at the moment, but we need to find out the facts.”

“EA has said it doesn’t know where the rod has come from, but if it is a nuclear fuel rod, then it must have come from either a British nuclear fuel manufacturing site or from one of the UK’s nuclear reactors,” said Wallace. “Either way the rod has come from the nuclear industry, which has failed dramatically to look after the material.”

EA says there is no indication that there has been any hazard to any member of the public, and that the initial survey showed no radioactive contamination at the site. The EA says it will now arrange long term storage for the rod and investigate nuclear sites that would have held this type of component.

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