Beatrix Potter’s Evil Master Plan: Trash Woodlands, Replace with “woolly maggots” So says George Monbiot.
Nuclear enthusiast George Monbiot has said of the Lakeland fells: “The forests that once covered them have been reduced by the white plague to bare rock and bowling green…the sheep wiped the hills clean.” Sounds persuasive. But is it credible?
Far from the fells being covered in trees the pre-Neolithic landscape would be a relatively open park-like mosaic rather than closed forest. It is a very safe bet that there are far fewer of Beatrix Potter’s beloved Herdwick on the Lakeland fells now than there were when she was the Ennerdale Show President in the 1930′s. It is also very safe to say that the wildlife of the Fells was far more abundant in Beatrix Potters hayday. Recent research into the ‘brand’ of Cumbria has shown that farming and tourism are the two industries most damaged by nuclear developments. Undermining farming and tourism would leave the field wide open for the nuclear industry to achieve its ambition of New build and burying heat generating nuclear waste under Cumbria. A friend of Beatrix Potter, the sculptress Josefina de Vasconcellos arrived in Cumbria in the 1930s:
“When I first came to the Lake District whenever John or I walked there were birds but since the atomic station came there have been less and less and less, they almost died out”.
Josefina’s observations are backed up by science. Lancaster University has been studying the effects of chronic long-term radiation on animals. This includes: “Severe effect on reproduction hatching and abnormal larvae (fish).”
These test studies are backed up by findings in the real world. Many universities worldwide have been studying evidence from nuclear accidents:
“Low-dose radiation has been known to have negative consequences for living beings for almost 100 years. Indeed, background radiation causes the death of tens of thousands of humans annually. These ‘natural’ effects may be exacerbated by the 23 nuclear accidents recorded during the last century”.
Radiation Free Lakeland believe Sellafield to be the equivalent of an ongoing accident with routine releases of radiation to sea, air and groundwaters.
Beatrix Potter left a vast area of Cumbria to the National Trust to be farmed with the express wish of keeping Herdwicks on the land. Her life’s work was to retain the delicate balance created by the domestic and wild community that share and maintain the Lake District. “Rewilding” sounds good but seeks to to divorce domestic animals and humans from the community of the wild. The outcome, a dystopia where humans live only in cities and any link to the wild is through a tv.
While there is no doubt much to improve in farming, blaming sheep for eating trees is disingenuous. Rabbits, grey squirrels and deer are much more problematic than sheep in the establishment of young trees in a dynamic landscape. Nuclear is needed in that living landscape like a hole in the head. George Monbiot’s vitriol against “woolly maggots” has maybe far less to do with sheep than with a desire to further the nuclear agenda at any cost. In Japan Beatrix Potter’s Tales are used to teach English to Japanese children, thousands of whom are now nuclear refugees.
The same companies who designed and built Fukushima have walked away from any responsibility and want to build nuclear reactors in the UK. Many Cumbrians are hefted to the land the same as the Herdwicks but the land is not ours to curse.
For all our sakes … Stop and Contain nuclear.
Wildthings: Childrens Culture and Ecocriticism Of Beatrix Potter : Real “magic” is the delicate balance created by thecommunity of creatures and plants that share and maintain a habitat like the Lake District’s
there is general agreement that the original-natural forest may have been more open than was previously thought,
Grey Squirrel Damage
Ennerdale Show Presidents
Josefina de Vasconcellos
Effects after chronic radiation
Fresh Water Use
The A83 and Sheep – The Lie of the Land
George Monbiot has introduced his “Sheepwrecked” premise with a story about the A83 in Scotland, a road notorious for landslips. The premise is that sheep are a major factor in causing landslides. Really? Cattle and sheep have grazed the land in this area of Scotland for longer than the A83 was in existence, not to mention red deer and other land mammals. One Landslide Mitigation method suggested for the A83 is the “introduction of sheep.” This is suggested as having the potential to lessen instability of the hillside from three perspectives:
To keep the height of the grass down to help reduce the build-up of snow in the winter
To prevent un-grazed grass dying off and weighing down the slope
Sheep forming compacted paths as they traverse the hillside thus creating drainage run off
The Landslide Mitigation report’s final conclusion is “it seems prudent to recommend that if vegetation planting is to form part of an on-going strategy to address instability at this location then efforts should be made to limit the presence, or exclude completely, livestock and in particular deer.” All the best lies have a little bit of truth in them and although George is right in a No Shit Sherlock: sheep eat grass, kind of way, it is clear that the principle agents of landslides on the A83 are not the sheep
The following is from NuCLear News and outlines the bonkers scenario that would see the UK covered in nuclear enrichment plants, nuclear reactors, reprocessing plants and four (!!) geological dumps. No wonder there is a dash for fracked gas – Sellafield uses over £30 million of gas now – imagine what 50+ nuke “facilities” would need!! WHAT is all this “needed” for. Is Britain to become the nuclear ghetto of Europe? Even the French are looking a bit leery about nuclear now, while our press continues to groom the public into nuclear acquiescence. Or maybe this is so that people heave a sigh of relief when “only” one or two get built? NO – there is no room on planet earth for ANY more Nukiller.
1. The Bonkers Scenario – Volunteers for 4 nuclear dumps please?
In April 2013 (NuClearNews No.49) we reported that the government’s high-nuclear
scenario was one of four set out in the 2011 carbon plan. (1) This envisaged 75GW of
nuclearcapacity in 2050 providing 86% of the UK’s electricity. (2)
In order to achieve 75GW of nuclear capacity by 2050, (which incidentally would
require an eye watering 30GW of new capacity to be built between 2030 and 2040 and
another 30GW between 2040 and 2050) the Government expects to need newer
fission technologies such as evolutionary LWR’s, small modular reactors (SMRs)
or Generation IV (mainly fast reactors); options for closing the uranium fuelcycle
and reprocessing spent fuel; progressing the development of fusion; and consideration
of alternative fuel cycles such as thorium. (3)
On nuclear waste the Government said demonstrating that the UK has a credible
programme to deliver a disposal route for higher activity wastes and have it in
operation assoon as safely practical is a foundation stone for the UK’s short,
medium and long term nuclear strategies.
Now the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has looked at the waste
implications of a 75GW nuclear programme which equates to over 50 new large-scale
modern reactors. CoRWM said “Thereis a need for clarity that any data given for, for
example, 16GWe, are anexample rather than either an expectation or a limit.” (4)
CoRWM says themaximum allowable inventory in any individual Geological Disposal
Facility(GDF) has to be determined by the Safety Case. It would therefore be prudent
tokeep open the possibility of multiple GDFs:
“Whilst CoRWM understands why the Government has given the example of new build
wastes arising only from developed proposals where information on the waste types
isknown, 16GWe is only the ‘first tranche’ figure and substantially below the75GWe
upper limit being examined in DECC … This issue reinforces the requirement to leave
the option open for more than one repository.”
Dr David Lowry,an environmental policy consultant and nuclear specialist, told The
Observerthat a 75GW scenario was a “nuclear fantasia at its worst”, and failed to
explain how huge amounts of radioactive waste generated by the plants would be
The Environment Agency (EA) has set a limit on the risk that may be caused by the
burial ofradioactive wastes of 10-6 (i.e. one in a million). (6) However, the NDA
Disposability AssessmentReport for waste arising from new EPR reactors states:
“…a risk of 5.3x 10-7 per year for the lifetime arisings of a fleet of six EPR
This is more than half the total risk of 10-6 allowable for a GDF. Clearly a GDF with
spent fuel from more than 12 newEPR reactors, as well as legacy waste, would exceed
the risk targets set by the EA.
A back-of-the-envelope calculation, therefore, would suggest that a 75GWprogramme
could require around 4 GDFs.
A cross-government review, undertaken in response to the House of Lords’ Science and
Technology Committee’s report on UK nuclear research and development
(R&D) capabilities, has resulted in the publication of a suite of documents
available on the Government website. These include the Nuclear Industry Strategy,
aNuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap, a Nuclear Industrial
VisionStatement, a Long Term Nuclear Energy Strategy, and a Civil Nuclear
Researchand Development Landscape Review.
The TechnologyStrategy Board (TSB), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and
the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are now investing up to £13m
in collaborative R&D and feasibility study projects, to stimulate innovation and
strengthen the UK’s civil nuclear supply chain. The competition is open to all sizes
of businesses and research organisations who may already be engagedin the nuclear
sector or who are considering entering this growing market forthe first time.
DECC says its work includes considering how the UK energy system might evolve in the
future and the roles that different types of energy generation may play in it. This
may include new designs of nuclear reactors and new types of fuel. Most of the
world’s nuclear power reactors tend to run on uranium fuel, be cooled by water and,
in order to sustain the heat-giving nuclear reaction in the reactor core, they must
slow down the neutrons that the fuel emits. However, there are a range of reactor
designs in various stages of development that differ from these and that may offer
advantages over currently available reactor systems. Some of these also offer the
possibility of using thorium, rather than uranium as a fuel, which also may offer
desirable characteristics. (8)
Instead of halting the nuclear juggernaught this is Business as usual -
but on a BIGGER and much more dangerous scale – we are being led up the toxic garden path.
1. NuClear News No.49, April 2013
2. TheCarbon Plan: delivering Our Low Carbon Future, DECC, December 2011
3. Long-term Nuclear Energy Strategy, BIS &DECC March 2013
4. CoRWMresponse to GDF Siting Consultation December 2013
See also Rob Edwards 12th Dec2013
5. Observer21st Dec 2013
6. EnvironmentAgency (February 2009) Geological Disposal Facilities on Land
for SolidRadioactive Wastes: Guidance on Requirements for Authorisation, page 46
7. NDA(22nd Jan 2010) GenericDesign Assessment: Disposability Assessment for
wastes and spent fuel arisingfrom operation of the UK EPR. Part 1 Main Report. para
5.4 page 97.
8. DECC8th Jan 2014
Higher LevelRadioactive Waste: Likely inventory range; the process for altering it;
how thecommunity might influence it and understanding the implications of new
nuclearbuild. Presented to West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely
Partnership, Pete Roche, 5th August 2010
PLEASE WRITE TO CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL CABINET BEFORE THURSDAY VOICING YOUR OPPOSITION TO DUMP CREEP
Having barely drawn breath since Cumbria County Council’s No vote, the Department of Energy and Climate Change have charged ahead with their “Geological Implementation” agenda and we are now apparently taking steps to the “siting process.” The CONsultation which ends on the 5th is merely about a revision to the “siting process.” The “improvement” is to make the few people on the executive of the District Councils i.e. Allerdale and Copeland, the sole decision makers. The less people to make the decision the less people to nobble.
Even so there are no chances being taken and Cumbria County Council’s response to this sham CONsultation has been overseen by Councillor David Southward, you remember him? He is the nuclear cheerleader who tried to overturn the County Council’s NO vote (but ironically is strongly opposed to the proposed nuclear dump for lower activity wastes at Keekle Head, see previous post below)
Instead of opposing the whole charade of the CONsultation which has been written with Cumbria specifically in mind, the County Council’s draft response goes along with it as much as it can, even helpfully suggesting ways to smooth the road to a geological dump for heat generating radioactive wastes under Cumbria.
Ask Cumbria County Council to consider making radical changes to its draft response.
CONTACTS: You can write to Stuart Young Leader of the Cabinet: Stewart.Young@cumbria.gov.uk
and ask that the content of your letter is made known or write to all 10 Cabinet Members here:
Points to Make (this is not a definitive list – there are more and probably better)
• Cumbria County County Council said NO on 30th January of this year – rather than responding directly to this new and deliberately skewed consultation on the “siting process” the Cabinet should instead write a letter making their own points on their own terms. To take part in the consultation on the “siting process” suggests that the process is underway and that Cumbria County Council is complicit.
• No other County is in the frame – only Cumbria. No District Councils in London, or Norfolk, nowhere apart from Cumbria.
• This is not a Cumbrian problem, it is not even a national problem, the high level waste here is as a result of international deliveries of spent fuel for reprocessing. Spent fuel is still arriving at Sellafield for reprocessing adding to the mountain of deadly wastes including plutonium (see below).
• There is no room for an outright No in this meaningless consultation which is geared to one outcome – a geological dump or two in Cumbria.
• In 2011 the then Secretary of State Chris Huhne was the sole Justifying Authority for the safety of new build with the safety of geological disposal a key prerequisite. He said “we expect to dispose of spent fuel and intermediate level waste from new nuclear power stations in the same geological disposal facility that will be constructed for the disposal of legacy waste”. How confident can Cumbria County Council be that the words of a convicted liar and cheat are trustworthy?
• It is unethical to offer compensation in exchange for a GDF to a community with pre- existing poverty – this is the advice in a government report written in a paper for Nirex by Kate Rawles. It could be argued that it is unethical to offer “compensation” in any case – if the GDF is so safe and such an “huge opportunity” then why the need for compensation?
“an ethical relationship between society and the host community will not be achieved if the main reason that the community agrees to accept an RWMF, and the compensation that goes with it, is pre- existing poverty”. Dr Kate Rawles
• Geological Disposal of the high level wastes proposed has never been carried out anywhere, Cumbria would be the Nuclear Test Dump Dummies.
• Only a strong NO will do.
• Cumbria County Council should work to persuade Allerdale and Copeland District Councils that if intergenerational retrievability is quite rightly seen as an essential then this negates the reasoning behind geological disposal which is to put the waste out of the reach of future generations.
Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet – Draft Consultation Response to Siting Process
Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Host Communities by Kate Rawles
Britains Plutonium Mountain
Rock Solid? A scientific review by Dr Helen Wallace -European Leaders are being misled over the safety of underground disposal of dangerous nuclear waste which could poison groundwaters for centuries
Radiation Free Lakeland and others will be at outside the Cabinet meeting from 9am to demonstrate our opposition to Cumbria County Council’s bizarre and weak kneed response to this latest cunning plan from the ironically named government quango:Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely. Don’t let Radiation Free Lakeland be ironically named -
……if the plan was to bury a few million tonnes of bananas under Cumbria we wouldn’t be quite so bothered? (many thanks to 3 Weeks to Save the Lakes for that one!)