"A cargo of highly radioactive nuclear waste set sail for Japan last night, after a breakthrough agreement that will cut Britain's stockpile of high-level waste by almost 40 per cent over the next decade.
"After years of planning, a programme to repatriate all 925 tonnes of foreign atomic waste from Britain to Japan and four other countries began yesterday.
"Under heavy security, 28 steel canisters of waste, each weighing half a tonne but sheathed in 100-tonne steel flasks, were moved by rail from the Sellafield plant in west Cumbria, where they have been held in temporary storage since the 1990s, to the port at Barrow-in-Furness. There they were loaded on to the Pacific Sandpiper, a custom-built, double-hulled ship that will be protected by armed guards throughout the six to eight-week sea journey to the Far East.
"The initial cargo represents the first shipment of 1,850 canisters of foreign waste held at Sellafield that are due to be returned to Japan, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands by 2020."