Letters to the Austrian Chancellor and other European Leaders – No New Build Subsidies!

The B30 pond in 2006 - with the Windscale Pile reflected

The B30 pond in 2006 – with the Windscale Pile reflected

In the B29 pond building.

In the B29 pond building.

The B30 pond in 2010

The B30 pond in 2010

In the B29 pond building

In the B29 pond building 2013

The B30 pond in 2012

The B30 pond in 2012

Dear Chancellor Faymann,

We wrote to you last week supporting your challenge to the EC on state
subsidies for new nuclear at Hinkley C. Since then the leaked images of
the Sellafield wastes have been published in the Ecologist and have been
studied by nuclear expert John Large.

“if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a
massive release of radioactive material.

“Looking at the photos I am very disturbed at the degraded and run down
condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a
significant risk that the system could fail.”

“If you got a breach of the wall by accident or by terrorist attack, the
Magnox fuel would burn. I would say there’s many hundreds of tonnes in
there. It could give rise to a very big radioactive release. It’s not for
me to make comparisons with Chernobyl or Fukushima, but it could certainly
cause serious contamination over a wide area and for a very long time.”

The photographs of Sellafield released by a whistleblower should have been
released by the British Government in the interests of openness and
transparency when developing their energy policy.

It is clear that the UK government instead of asking the British public to subsidise new build should be asking for the world’s help in looking after these nuclear
wastes which are a real and present danger.

Sellafield and the UK government continue the pretence that Sellafield is
a “centre of excellence.”  There is not enough money in the world to make
Sellafield safe but that is what the world must aim for instead of
spending £billions of public money to make yet more waste.

Wastes from the existing Hinkley nuclear plant continues to arrive at
Sellafield by rail through towns and villages.

We fully support Austria’s opposition to the UK continuing along this
toxic path to future and ever more deadly “legacy” wastes

The Ecologist article “Leaked Sellafield photos reveal massive radioactive
release threat’
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2611216/leaked_sellafield_photos_reveal_massive_radioactive_release_threat.html

yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby
on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

References:
Radiation Free Lakeland

http://wildar4.wix.com/radiation-free-land#!

Austria will take the EC to the European Court of Justice

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/05/uk-austria-eu-edf-nuclear-idUKKCN0HU0EY20141005

First Generation Magnox Pond

http://www.sellafieldsites.com/solution/risk-hazard-reduction/first-generation-magnox-storage-pond/

Studsvik

http://www.wcssg.co.uk/about-the-sites/studsvik

EDF seeking deregulation for “decommissioning” ie dispersal to the
environment

http://www.sepa.org.uk/system_pages/search.aspx?q=EDF%20torness%20hunterston

Biggest Nuclear Development in Europe

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-moorside-biggest-nuclear-development-in-europe

Leaked Sellafield photos reveal “massive radioactive release” threat

The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods

The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods

Radiation Free Lakeland have been given permission to publish in full the article in The Ecologist by Oliver Tickell and the leaked photographs exposing Sellafield’s neglect of decades of nuclear wastes.  For the nuclear industry and government to be colluding to build new nuclear next to this radioactive ticking time bomb is tantamount to state terrorism.

“For the first time in decades we can see down into the pond and see the contents, and it’s breathtaking!” comments Large. “It’s all thanks to the whistle blower that I’m looking at them.”

“This pond is build above ground”, he said. “It’s like an concrete dock full of water. But the concrete is in dreadful condition, degraded and fractured, and if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material.

“Looking at the photos I am very disturbed at the degraded and run down condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a significant risk that the system could fail.”

“If you got a breach of the wall by accident or by terrorist attack, the Magnox fuel would burn. I would say there’s many hundreds of tonnes in there. It could give rise to a very big radioactive release. It’s not for me to make comparisons with Chernobyl or Fukushima, but it could certainly cause serious contamination over a wide area and for a very long time.”

Leaked Sellafield photos reveal ‘massive radioactive release’ threat
Oliver Tickell

27th October 2014

Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds abandoned 40 years ago containing hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods pose an immediate danger to public safety, photographs sent to The Ecologist reveal. The fuel and sludge in the ponds could spontaneously ignite if exposed to air, spreading intense radiation over a wide area.

“Looking at the photos I am very disturbed at the degraded and run down condition of the structures and support services. There is a significant risk that the system could fail.”
The Ecologist has received a shocking set of leaked images showing decrepit and grossly inadequate storage facilities for high level nuclear waste at the Sellafield nuclear plant.

The images (right), from an anonymous source, show the state of spent nuclear fuel storage ponds that were commissioned in 1952, and used until the mid-1970’s as short term storage for spent fuel until it could be re-processed, producing plutonium for military use. However they were completely abandoned in the mid-1970s and have been left derelict for almost 40 years.

The photographs show cracked concrete tanks holding water contaminated with high levels of radiation, seagulls bathing on the water, broken equipment, a dangerous mess of discarded items on elevated walkways, and weeds growing around the tanks.

The fuel storage ponds, the largest measuring 20m wide, 150m long and 6m deep, are now completely packed with spent fuel in disastrously poor condition.

If the ponds drain, the spent fuel may spontaneously ignite

The ponds are now undergoing decommissioning in order to restore them to safe condition. But the process is fraught with danger – and nuclear expert John Large warns that massive and uncontrolled radioactive releases to the environment could occur.

“This pond is build above ground”, he said. “It’s like an concrete dock full of water. But the concrete is in dreadful condition, degraded and fractured, and if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material.

“Looking at the photos I am very disturbed at the degraded and run down condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a significant risk that the system could fail.”

“If you got a breach of the wall by accident or by terrorist attack, the Magnox fuel would burn. I would say there’s many hundreds of tonnes in there. It could give rise to a very big radioactive release. It’s not for me to make comparisons with Chernobyl or Fukushima, but it could certainly cause serious contamination over a wide area and for a very long time.”

State of fuel is ‘very unstable’

The ponds were abandoned after they were overwhelmed with spent fuel in 1974. This was the time of Prime Minster Edward Heath’s ‘three-day week’ when coal miners were on strike, causing fuel shortages in Britain’s power stations.

In order the ‘keep the lights on’, the UK’s fleet of nuclear power stations were run at full tilt, producing high volumes of spent fuel that the Sellafield re-processing facilities were unable to keep up with.

“During the three-day week they powered up the Magnox reactors to maximum, and so much fuel was coming into Sellafield that it overwhelmed the line, and stayed in the pool too long”, says Large.

“The magesium fuel rod coverings corroded due to the acidity in the ponds, and began to degrade and expose the nuclear fuel itself to the water, so they just lost control of the reprocessing line at a time when the ponds were crammed with intensely radioactive nuclear fuel.”

“This left the fuel in a very unstable condition, with actual nuclear fuel complete with uranium 238, 235 and all the fission products, in contact with water. The problem then is that you get corrosion with the formation of hydride salts which leads to swelling, outside cracks, and metal-air reactions”, said Large – who gave evidence on the topic to the House of Commons Environment Comittee in 1986.

The whole fuel ponds began to look like milk of magnesia, and what with the poor inventories that had been kept, no one even knew what was in there any more. Even the Euratom nuclear proliferation inspectors complained about it as there was by some estimates over a tonne of plutonium sitting there in the fuel rods and as sludge that was never properly accounded for.”

All part of Britain’s nuclear WMD programme

The two adjacent fuel storage ponds, which lie between the old Windscale nuclear piles, were part of the military plutonium production line using the Windscale spent fuel until the Windscale diasaster in 1957.

With the Windscale piles out of commission, they were then adapted to receive nuclear waste from civilian power stations such as Calder Hall and Hinkley Point.

The first pond in the plutonium production line is B30, which is open to the elements. From there underwater tunnels were used to convey the fuel-bearing skips to other ponds and silos within the adjacent building, where the fuel rods were ‘decanned’ from their cladding.

The fuel was then dissolved in concentrated acids in the B203 reprocessing plant, where the plutonium for Britain’s nuclear weapons programme was chemically separated using the PUREX process. Both ponds contain a mix of fuel, sludge, and other miscellaneous nuclear wastes.

Concrete is riddled with cracks

But in the 40 years since the ponds were abandoned, the entire system has broken down. Locks, gantries, lifts and valves are all broken, missing or seized up.

The concrete is riddled with cracks – including not just the ones that you can see, but also those out of sight in the connecting tunnels. The entire environment is far too radioactive for anyone to be able to enter.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has now started work on the ponds, but reassuring statements have been shown to be over-optimistic. “It’s very disturbing”, says Large. “They have been saying it was all under control, and they thought well cleared out. Now we know it’s not.”

However an important first stage has been completed – the ‘de-flocculation’ of the water so that it’s finally possible to see what’s there. This had previously been impossible due to particulate suspension and algal growth.

“For the first time in decades we can see down into the pond and see the contents, and it’s breathtaking!” comments Large. “It’s all thanks to the whistle blower that I’m looking at them. If the Euratom inspectors could see what we can see now, my there would have been a row! Maybe we should invite them back right now!”

A particlar problem arises from the sludge that has accummulated at the bottom of both ponds and skips, which requires especially careful handling. The sludge has to be kept under water in order to prevent its spontaneous ignition.

But it’s also essential to keep it undisturbed as if the sludges are resuspended into the main body of water, a part of the sludge will add into the surface ‘oil’ of fine particulates which can be released to the atmosphere with any surface water disturbance – giving rise to high radiation levels above the water.

This seriously complicates both the removal and packaging of the sludge itself, and of the fuel-containing skips.

The Ecologist has contacted the Office of Nuclear Regulation, the statutory nuclear safety regulator, with pressing questions about the safety of the site, safety plans in the event of water loss or radioactive release, and whether anyone will be prosecuted over the abandonment of the ponds in this highly dangerous condition.

We await their reply.

Nuclear Amnesia “What would Karen Silkwood say?”

Gil Scott-Heron | We Almost Lost Detroit

The Fermi I reactor was a breeder located at Lagoona Beach, 30 miles from Detroit. On the 5th October in 1966, high temperatures were measured (700 compared to normal 580¡F) and radiation alarms sounded involving two fuel rod subassemblies. The reactor scrammed and there was indication of fuel melting. After a month of sweating, they tested out enough subassemblies to limit the damage to 6 subassemblies. By January 67 they had learned that 4 subassemblies were damaged with two stuck together, but it took until May to remove the assemblies.

When they had checked the sodium flow earlier, they had detected a clapping noise. In August 67 they were able to lower a periscope device into the meltdown pan and found that a piece of zirconium cladding had come loose and was blocking the sodium coolant nozzles. The zirconium cladding was part of the lining of the meltdown cone designed to direct the distribution of fuel material should a meltdown of the fuel occur. Such structures are necessary in a breeder reactor because of the possibliity of molten fuel reassembling itself in a critical configuration. This is not a possibility in an ordinary light water reactor because of the low level of enrichment of the uranium, but a fast breeder reactor is operated with a much higher level of enrichment. The phrase “China syndrome” was coined in regard to this accident as they were contemplating the possibilities should a meltdown of fuel with critical reassembly take place. The uncontrolled fission reaction could create enough heat to melt its way into the earth, and some engineer remarked “it could go all the way to China”.

With ingenious tools designed and built for the purpose, the piece of zirconium was fished out in April of 1968. In May of 1970, the reactor was ready to resume operation, but a sodium explosion delayed it until July of 1970. In October it finally reached a level of 200 Mwatts. The total cost of the repair was about $132 million. In August of 1972 upon denial of the extension of its operating license, the shutdown process for the plant was initiated

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/NucEne/nucacc.html

Kill the Bill – Infrastructure Bill Gives Free Rein to Radioactive and Chemical Polluters

Kill Cameron’s Infrastructure Bill

Please send letters to your MP,  your member of the House of Lords,  the press – Get Active ….and Kill the Bill!

Please do not rely completely on petitions such as the Greenpeace petition (which we have signed) it focuses on Fracking and leaves Nuclear out of the picture.  Equally do not rely on Radiation Free Lakeland – please write your own letters and do your own research as much as you can. But feel free to use our letter below as a starting point – even a line or two to your MP will make a difference.

Letter sent to our MP Tim Farron
Dear Tim,

Please vote to oppose the Infrastructure Bill currently being pushed
through Parliament. Radiation Free Lakeland know that you have grave concerns about the nuclear industry’s hold over Cumbria. This Bill if enacted would see that hold tighten completely.

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others have highlighted the Fracking
aspects of the Bill but it is extremely worrying that the Nuclear aspects
are effectively being airbrushed out of any criticisms. Frack Free York
describe the situation very well:

“The proposed Infrastructure Bill mandates that local councils relinquish
90% of their brownfield land to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Brownfield sites are previously developed sites that have become vacant,
contaminated but could be reused and include parks, playing fields,
allotments, woodlands, public facilities and village greens.
Once in possession of this land, the HCA will then be able to transfer it
to private developers along with any rights that we, the public, would
have had to it. Schedule 3 of the bill specifically states that…
…the property, rights and liabilities that may be transferred by a scheme
include… property, rights and liabilities that would not otherwise be
capable of being transferred or assigned

In terms of public easements (rights of use), public rights of way or
considerations for consecrated ground, the government will have the power
to remove any and all of these rights as they see fit.
These transfers are to take effect irrespective of any requirement to
obtain a person’s consent or concurrence, any liability in respect of a
contravention of another requirement, or any other interference with an
interest or right, which would otherwise apply.
Planning Consent
In addition to the above, private companies who obtains these lands will
no longer be subject to local planning regulations and consultation. The
Secretary of State will be able to give the green light to any development
without any local politicians’, residents’ or planners’ involvement,
simply by consulting a panel of two people.
This would provide an avenue for unpopular fracking projects, nuclear plants, landfill sites and other developments to be placed on public land without the public being able to object”.

There is no exemption whatsoever for any public land (apart from Crown)
contained within the Bill. This means that even our publicly owned
forests are under threat. Currently publicly owned land, which includes 500 acres of woodlands, hedgerows, fields and shore adjacent to Sellafield are being promoted as the site for dangerous new nuclear build. Government is looking to sell this publicly owned land and ancient rights of way to the same companies who built Fukushima.

To clear obsolete nuclear sites the nuclear industry is already dispersing nuclear wastes to landfill and is looking for further landfill “opportunites”. Government is also keen to “implement geological disposal” of heat generating wastes. Amendments have been made to the Infrastructure Bill that would give oil and gas companies rights for “passing any substance through, or putting any substance into, deep-level land or infrastructure installed in deep-level land”. They also allow companies to leave “deep-level land in a different condition from the condition it was in before an exercise of the right of use”. This could include retaining any infrastructure or substance underground.

Government says the right is for exploiting petroleum and deep geothermal
energy only and denied it applies to the storage of nuclear waste. This
is not reassuring at all as nuclear waste is already continually being
reclassified in order to allow “free release” from nuclear sites to
landfill or to the radioactive metal recycling plant at Lillyhall. Once
reclassified the waste is not labelled “nuclear waste” – a neat trick!
All in all the Infrasctructure Bill is a charter to give free rein to
radioactive and chemical polluters, and these polluters are increasingly
regulated by the industry themselves.

This government promised a ‘localism agenda’ and instead has delivered the greatest shift of power from local to central government since the days of Margaret Thatcher. This Bill is the ultimate expression of that shift of power.

Please kill the bill – all of it.

yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby
on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
address

notes:

Frack Free York – No Consent
http://www.frackfreeyork.org.uk/infrastructure-bill-fracking-no-consent/

Stop Moorside – Biggest Nuclear Development in Europe

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-moorside-biggest-nuclear-development-in-europe

Infrastructure Bill – Death of Localism

http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2014/06/18/you-will-not-believe-what-david-cameron-is-selling-off-now/

Radioactive Landfill – no independent monitoring
http://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/independent-radiation-monitoring-in-nw-what/

Pull the plug on officially sanctioned radioactive fly tippers
http://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/pull-the-plug-on-officially-sanctioned-radioactive-fly-tippers/

Polluters regulated by the industry
http://www.nnl.co.uk/news-media-centre/news-archive/nnl-wins-environment-agency-contract/

Facebook Group 

Meanwhile in the US, Grandmothers are found guilty while nuclear poisons us all

PILGRIM grandmothers found guilty yesterday 10/22/2014. Sentenced to 30 days, suspended, and a year’s probation. These women are our prophets, as is, of course, Dr Helen Caldicott, who did testify yesterday (having been previously barred)


Here are words from defendant grandmother Diane Turco in court.

I wept as I read her gorgeous words and those she quoted by Grandmother Sarah Thacher.
Argument by Grandmother Diane Turco of Pilgrim Grandmothers 4
10.22.14 Plymouth District Court

On Mother’s Day, 2014, Cape Downwinders held a rally in St. Catherine’s Chapel Park and march to the Pilgrim nuclear power reactor in Plymouth. We called for the closing of Entergy Corporation’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Reactor because our children and future generations are at risk to the damage of ionizing radiation.

The Mother’s Day proclamation written and read by Grandmother Sarah Thacher that day is as follows:

“This Mother’s Day action is an expression of our rage against a polluting nuclear reactor and our love for all children.
This is not about an accident happening in the future.
It is about an ongoing accident occurring daily.
We have stood by and watched our air and water become polluted.
The incredibly high cancer rates have become acceptable.
We are churning out more and more radioactive waste with no place to go but into our own backyards and Cape Cod Bay …..
or to be vented, leaked, and dribbled into our atmosphere.

As mothers and grandmothers (Who are now paying attention) we want this poisoning to stop. We are here to put our bodies on the line with an apology, that we didn’t understand earlier about this evil that is being perpetrated on our children and generations to come.

Our job is to see Pilgrim shut down and cleaned up.”
As Grandmothers (looking back on two generations for Mary and me, and for Susan and Sarah, three) we have a joyful and solemn responsibility to make sure our children are safe. With the tragic lessons learned from Fukushima mothers,

WE WILL PROTECT THE CHILDREN.

We act on a moral imperative with civic responsibility.
The ongoing operation of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Reactor in Plymouth is a crime beyond what we four Grandmothers have been charged with. Damaging and killing of life from exposure to ionizing radiation and the imminent threat of a catastrophic accident that is already acknowledged to be a viable event is a far greater crime than the gentle affirming actions of four loving grandmothers.
Your Honor, with our testimony presented, we hope that you will come to the conclusion that the four grandmothers did not commit a crime of trespassing but, rather, with clarity and compassion, are calling attention to the alarming truth:

That Entergy Corporation’s operation of Pilgrim Nuclear on the shores of Cape Cod Bay is the real threat and danger to our beautiful children and our beloved community, trespassing on all of us every single day in a most serious and deadly capacity.
In closing,
Mother’s Day founder, Julia Ward Howe exclaimed:
“Arise all women who have hearts whether your baptism be that of water or tears! Say firmly we will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.”

Most Honorable Judge Sullivan, we four Grandmothers stand in your court as a serious expression of the unwillingness of the government to protect the people and seek your confirmation that our peaceful actions are urgently meaningful for the protection of our children and future generations.
Otherwise, with broken hearts, we will regretfully apologize to our children once again.

More Nuclear Waste on its way to Sellafield Today

Nuclear waste train at Bridgewater

Nuclear waste train at Bridgwater station this morning ….the second one this week  23 Oct 2014

On its way to Sellafield ….coming through your neighbourhood soon …..

Sellafield is bursting at the seams with nuclear waste, but not to worry as there is plenty of sea to dump it into, plenty of air, plenty of soil

Indeed we are the land of plenty - the St Bees knees.

The headland at St Bees acts as a catchment for Sellafield’s reprocessing wastes.

The return of Yucca Mountain?

mariannewildart:

Yucca Mountain once again being pushed as a geological dump: Nuclear Waste …Stop Making It!

Originally posted on GreenWorld:

yucca102The tortured history of the Yucca Mountain radioactive waste project took another twist Thursday as the NRC released a key portion of its Safety Evaluation Report (SER) for the project.

Judging from the reaction of the nuclear industry and its backers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the release of Volume 3 (of five volumes, three of which are not yet completed) meant that the radwaste trains would begin rolling into the mountain this morning. 

In a statement on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s website, Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), a steadfast supporter of all things nuclear, called the report “game-changing,” and said the American public can now have confidence that the repository would be in fact “safe for a million years.”

Not to be outdone, Environment and Energy subcommittee chair John Shimkus (R-IL), like Upton a guy who has ardently backed the nuclear industry no matter what…

View original 1,386 more words