Claims that cats from West Cumbria’s nuclear site given out for adoption were found to have plutonium in their system have been challenged by Sellafield.

Radiation Free Lakeland claims samples analysed from two cats showed plutonium and cesium in the poop of one of them.

Marianne Birkby, of the campaign group, said: “For Sellafield to be handing out cats to the public is rather at odds with their policy of culling wildlife on site to contain radioactive contamination.

“We are not saying the cats should be culled. They should be neutered and returned to the site and left to fend for themselves, the life span of a feral cat is usually around two years.”

Sellafield rehomed more than 70 cats from their site after launching a programme in 2019.

The company said the cats pose no risk to the new owners.

A spokesman said: “We needed to remove these cats from the site but it was always our intent to do so in a way which looked after their welfare and gave them the best chance of a good life elsewhere.

“Before leaving the site each cat was given a health check by an independent veterinary expert and, to provide reassurance, were radiologically monitored.

“We then worked with local animal welfare charities to successfully rehome a significant number of cats including some with members of our own workforce.

“There is no reason for us to believe that these cats pose any risk to their new owners and we have seen nothing that confirms there is anything of any concern for either the cat or its owner.

“The programme was concluded in February 2020 when we were satisfied that the site population had been significantly reduced. We continue to review the situation.”