Forgotten Archives: SELLAFIELD AND THE SUFFERING CHILDREN

observer-mag

OBSERVER MAGAZINE 28th May 1989

EXCLUSIVE REPORT: SELLAFIELD AND THE SUFFERING CHILDREN

Ellie de Cordova lived at Whitehaven, nine miles away from the nuclear reprocessing plant of Sellafield. At the age of four, she died of leukaemia, a type of cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. Eighteen other children within 20 miles of Sellafield have also developed leukaemia. Now their parents are united to sue British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. They explain why in our special feature.

Nineteen children living with 20 miles of the Sellafield nuclear plant have developed leukaemia, a cancer affecting their blood and bone marrow. In a few weeks’ time their parents will begin proceedings to sue British Nuclear Fuels for compensation. If they win, it will make legal history. Four of these families have told their story exclusively to the Observer. Report by Alison Whyte and Annabel Ferriman. Photographs by Christopher Pillitz.

Lyn Marr knew something was seriously wrong with her five-year-old son Ronald when the hospital specialist and her GP came to visit her at home. Ronald had been to the hospital for tests because of pains in his legs and a terrible lethargy that would not go away.

“We knew something was the matter. Usually you go to see the doctor, the doctor doesn’t come to see you. It was such a shock. Cancer goes right through you. You hear of a thing, but if it doesn’t concern you, you put it to the back of your mind. But when it is happening to you and our child, it hits you right in the face.”

At first Mrs Marr was convinced that she had given her child the disease, which turned out to be acute lymphatic leukaemia because she was a smoker. “But I asked the doctors and they said it had nothing to do with it.”

Then, last July, three months after Ronald had been diagnosed, a friend saw an advert in the local newspaper, the Whitehaven News. It said: “If your child suffered or is suffering from leukaemia, if you live in the surrounding area of Sellafield and if you are interested in making a claim against British Nuclear Fuels, why not telephone us?”

It started Lynne Marr thinking. The Marr family live in Workington, 15 miles up the coast from Sellafield, the huge nuclear reprocessing plant and reactor complex in west Cumbria, which has been the centre of controversy ever since it, was built in the early 1950’s. Her husband also called Ronald had worked at BNFL as a building contractor. “I started wondering what he might have brought home on his clothes.”

She also started to remember how Ronald had played on the beach as a toddler and how just nine months after he was born, in November 1983, Sellafield had suffered one of the worst leaks of radiation in its history. “It was in all the papers.” Says his father. “Other kids who played down there got burns on their skin.”

Lynn Marr phoned the number given in the advertisement. It belonged to Martyn Day, a London solicitor who had been representing 10 families of Sellafield workers seeking compensation. Martyn Day had been involved in radiation work for four years, ever since, as a specialist in accident and injury work, he had been invited by Labour MP Frank Cook to join the Radiation Victims Round Table, an organisation of lawyers, doctors and scientists, set up to advance the cause of radiation sufferers.

At that time in 1984, only two groups of victims had been identified: workers in the nuclear industry and those who had been exposed to radiation when Britain tested its first nuclear bomb. But scientists and doctors had begun worrying that people who simply lived near a nuclear reprocessing plant, such as Sellafield, could somehow be affected.

Sellafield and the Suffering Children.jpg

Their fears had been raised by the findings of a Yorkshire Television documentary in 1983 called “Windscale: the Nuclear Laundry” which showed that the incidence of childhood leukaemia- a cancer which affects the white cells in the blood and bone marrow was 10 times higher around Windscale (later renamed Sellafield) than the national average. This ‘excess’ of leukaemia’s was confirmed in 1984 by the Black committee, although that committee did not know the cause and that it could be due to coincidence.

But when the report came from the government appointed Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) was published last year, the situation changed. The committee concluded that “some feature’ of the plant contributed to an increased risk of leukaemia to young people living nearby.

 

The statement by the committee chairman Martin Bobrow, a paediatrician from Guy’s hospital that “the burden of proof had shifted – the leukaemia cases must be assumed to be connected with the nuclear plants until proven otherwise” was the strongest indication yet that there was a case to answer.

 

“When I read the COMARE report last June, I realised the whole ball game had changed” said Martyn Day. “That was when I decided to act.” He put a small advertisement in the Whitehaven News thinking he would be contacted by two or three families. In the event 22 families contacted him within a few days and another eight families since. Day visited all the families included the Marrs, within the space of a week. “Most of them were bemused and suspicious at first. They weren’t quite sure what was going on, but they keen to look into it. They did not want to put themselves through even more suffering. I explained the science, the legal procedure of making a claim, and why I thought there was a reasonable chance of winning the case. Quite a nuclear said they were glad the case would get a full public airing.”

 

From the start it was quite apparent that the battle was going to be of major proportions. If Day wins, it will make legal history. Although Sellafield workers have previously taken legal action against British Nuclear Fuels, no one who lives in the vicinity of the plant has done so. The company acknowledges that it has paid out £500,000 to widows and dependents of 17 workers in the past 30 years but it has never paid out anything to anyone just living nearby. BNFL has always refused to admit liability.

 

The first step for Day was to try to get legal aid for the victims but even this proved difficult because of objections by BNFL. He applied on behalf of his client last August, and was told by the Law Society in October that, in principle, there should be nothing to stop them getting aid. The Society just had to look into the financial circumstances of each client to see if they qualified.

 

Then, two months later, solicitors for BNFL wrote to the Law Society saying that the applicants didn’t have a case and therefore should not be granted legal aid. In February, Days clients were informed that their applications had been rejected. Day appealed against the decision and finally in March 18 out of the 30 families heard that they had been successful. (Of the others, some did not qualify for financial reasons, some dropped out and some are still waiting to hear.) The first hurdle had been surmounted.

 

The next step was deciding where to start. Day wants to begin with three or four children as test cases. A group of scientists are examining the details of each of the families to decide which is most suitable. One of these experts is Professor Edward Radford, who has advised the US government on the effects of radiation and who has studies its effects on Hiroshima survivors.

 

“We are considering three main factors – how close the families live to Sellafield, whether they live on the coast and whether a parent has worked at the plant.” Says Radford. “Although BNFL does careful monitoring of workers clothes, there have been documented cases of contaminated workers leaving the plant.”

 

Twenty of the families who contacted Martyn Day live within a 15-mile radius of Sellafield. The others live up to 50 miles away. A total of 22 of the 30 children, whose ages range from four to twenty are still alive. Most of the children have acute lymphatic leukaemia – acute myeloid leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

 

It is thought that there may be three “pathways” from the nuclear site to childhood leukaemia. First through discharges of radioactivity into the environment, affecting the population directly or ending up in food and drink. Secondly, through the irradiation of adults, whose genes are damaged leading to an increased tendency among their offspring to develop cancer. Thirdly direct exposure of children to radioactivity brought home by their parents on their bodies or clothes.

 

Although COMARE pointed the finger at Sellafield, it was unable to explain how the plant could have caused the leukaemias, because according to available estimates, levels from radioactivity from Sellafield were too low to cause the disease.

 

But COMARE’s work was given added weight by the findings of a study by the Medical Research Council and the Imperial Cancer Research Foundation in March this year, which discovered clusters of childhood leukaemia (that is abnormally high rates) around some 15 nuclear installations. It may be that either the official estimates of the emissions are too low, or that lower levels of radiation than was previously believed can cause leukaemia. But clusters of leukaemia cases pose a puzzle for scientists because they do also occur in areas unaffected by the nuclear industry.

 

Once it is decided which cases to start with, writs will be issued against BNFL, probably during this summer, and the due legal process will begin. Truckloads of evidence will be exchanged between the two sides and the cases are not expected to reach the Royal Courts of Justice inside two to three years.

 

Some of the families who work at Sellafield wish to avoid publicity. Others like the Marrs, the de Cordovas, the Beatties and the Colemans are willing to speak about why they are prepared to sue BNFL.

 

“I want to know if it is Sellafield that is causing these cases of leukaemia and if it is, I want it to be made safer so that other kiddies do not have to go through what mine is going through” says Lynn Marr. “It has taken away his childhood.”

 

Treatment started for Ronald the day after he was diagnosed. He was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne and was started on chemotherapy (drug treatment). He was in and out of hospital for months but now, a year later is home most of the time. Lynn Marr had to give up her job in a shop to look after her son (the Marrs have two other children, grown up daughters.) “Ronald is not the little lad I know” she says “Before he had leukaemia he was loving. Now he’s bitter. He’ll say “Its your fault and I hate you” This treatment has to go on for another year and then we won’t know for three to five years after that whether he is cured.”

 

Another family willing to speak out are the de Cordovas whose daughter Ellie died of leukaemia at the age of four, almost three years ago. They object to the secrecy which they believe surrounds the plant. They consider that BNFL runs the local borough like a company town.

 

“Sellafield affects every company here one way or another. They act as if they owned the place” says Phil de Cordova, a fitter with British Steel. “I think they are nitpicking with the statistics about leukaemia.”

 

Mr de Cordova’a views are echoed by many others who live in the area. The secrecy surrounding the plant meant that the serious nature of the fire there in 1957 – considered the worst nuclear accident in the world until Chernobyl – was not revealed until 26 years later, when the National Radiological Protection Board admitted that the radiation released then could have caused up to 33 deaths.

 

Between 1976 and 1982 and since 1987 the nuclear industry has been required to make public every incident that occurs. As a result, an alarming nuclear of incidents and leaks have been revealed. BNFL produced a list of 1777 incidents that took place between 1950 and 1976 for the Windscale Inquiry in 1977.

 

But Sellafield is the economic centre of west Cumbria, providing 14,000 jobs in an area with a working population of only 32,000. The company estimates that around 25,000 people in west Cumbria are economically dependent on it. So although it sucks in 1000 tonnes of spent reactor fuel each year and pumps out at least a million gallons of contaminated water every day into the Irish Sea, most families will not speak out against it.

 

It has even become, surprising, one of the country’s fastest growing tourist attractions, pulling in 150,000 tourists last year. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) provide a focus for the opposition but the organisation is still small.

Sellafield - Sued by Parents.png

The dependency of the local community on Sellafield was one of the main problems that Martyn Day thought he would have to contend with. He feels that the climate is now changing. “My experience has been that the area surrounding Sellafield is like a company town, but the response to the advertisement shows that people are now more prepared to challenge BNFL than previously.” The other crucial factor in the case will be the judges ruling on whether to accept medical probability as the standard of proof. The cases will be brought under Section Seven of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. This provides a liability on plants such as Sellafield to compensate any person who can show that they have suffered personal injury as a result of radioactive emissions. “We will be out to prove that, on the balance of probabilities, using all available statistical and epidemiological evidence, Sellafield is a cause or a partial cause of leukaemia in our clients.” Day says.

 

British Nuclear Fuels believes that Day does not have a hope of winning. Jake Kelly, Media Relations Manager at BNFL points out that the COMARE report was unable to explain how the plant could have caused the leukaemia. “We are quite convinced that if we go to court we will win this case, because if you can’t establish a cause, how can you lay blame? The radioactive emissions from this plant are no way high enough to cause leukaemia.”

 

Kelly can’t understand why BNFL is still seen as secretive. “There is no doubt that during the first 30 years of the industry there were some very complacent and arrogant scientists,” he says. “We have always been open, but we have never been seen to be open. I put it down to the fact that we are never able to separate in people’s minds the military and civil use of nuclear power. The public have got to make up their minds what they want. If Sellafield goes down, you might as well build a wall around west Cumbria and forget all about it.”

 

If Day’s clients do win, they stand to gain between £10,000 and £250,000 each. It’s not the money that motivates them, however according to Day: It is BNFL’s refusal to acknowledge openly even the possibility of a link between Sellafield and childhood leukaemias. “For my clients the money is not really relevant. It’s the principle that counts. If there was a degree of recognition from British Nuclear Fuels that they may be causing these problems I don’t think they would be facing this court case today.”

 

Ellie de Cordova age 4

“The gap she has left doesn’t get filled”

 

Phil and Chris de Cordova came to west Cumbria five years ago, first to Egremont, four miles from Sellafield and then to Whitehaven, nine miles north on the coast. Phil was unemployed but now works as a fitter for British Steel. Chris is a teacher at a local junior school. Their daughter Ellie who suffered from acute lymphatic leukaemia, died in 1986 at the age of four. The de Cordovas have two other children, Olivia, 19 months and Ralph, 6 months. They have applied for legal aid and are awaiting the result. “Ellie was a fit and healthy child when she came to Whitehaven” says Chris. “About two months later she had a viral illness and just didn’t seem to pick up. As she crept towards her third birthday she was getting more lethargic and pale. We took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed on her birthday. It was “Happy Birthday Ellie, Today you are three and today you have leukaemia.” We were in a state of shock for a couple of weeks. But the doctor said they were making great strides every day towards a breakthrough so we never really had any doom and gloom about it.

 

“Two years later Ellie died a week before her fifth birthday. A child of that age doesn’t have any fear of death. She had known other children who had leukaemia, another child at my junior school has it and Ellie had a friend, Robert who died from leukaemia just a year before she did. We took her to his funeral. She likened it to a beetle being dead: “you stamp on a beetle and its finished.” She said. She knew that Robert was finished and his “thinking” was going to Jesus. She was quite happy with that. “The gap she has left doesn’t get filled. We like to include Ellie in our lives. Just because she is not there in person doesn’t mean that we want to exclude her.”

 

“I think that there must be a connection with Sellafield and some types of leukaemia: I don’t honestly see any other explanation for the clusters around Sellafield and Dounreay. I am not in principle opposed to nuclear power, but they should tighten up their controls because we are still hearing of leaks. Only last week there was another. But you daren’t say anything against Sellafield because people see it as a threat to their jobs.”

 

Children Poisoned by Sellafield.jpg

Sarah Beattie age 7

“We could see her wasting away

 

Sarah Beattie is seven and has acute lymphatic leukaemia. At the time Sara was conceived her father was working at BNFL’s nuclear dump at Drigg, four miles south of Sellafield. During the pregnancy the Beatties lived in Whitehaven. Now the family have moved to Mealsgate, about 20 miles away. They have been offered legal aid.

 

Susan Beattie recalls: “Sara became ill in December 1086, when she was four. She was such a big fit girl – it was only us that could see her wasting away. She had pains everywhere and she didn’t eat anything. We took her to hospital and they thought she was depressed, so they put her in the psychiatric ward. Nine weeks later she was diagnosed. We were relieved because they had found something: for two months we’d been saying, “what are we going to do if she dies?” There followed a grim period of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and injections to the spine during which time Sarah twice lost her hair. “I cried one night and just got it all out of my system” John Beattie says. “We are not out of the woods yet,” says Susan. “Anything could happen. The longer you go clear, the more hope you have. You know that if she gets poorly again, it will be a lot worse. But she is great now.”

 

Susan Beattie was disturbed when she heard that BNFL had paid compensation to some families of Sellafield workers who had died from cancer. “If Sellafield can cause cancer in people who work there, what reason has BNFL got to say it isn’t affecting people around?” We are going ahead with this not only for ourselves, but for everybody else. Quite a few families are connected with Sellafield through work and they don’t want to plough in, in case they lose their jobs.” The Beatties bear no hostility towards Sellafield. But they are concerned that any connection between the plant and childhood leukaemias should be made known. “That’s what this court case is all about,” says John Beattie. “I would hate to think the plant was going to be closed down, but I it is causing leukaemia they have obviously got to do something. If it did shut down, though, it would cause an awful lot of hardship to this area.”

 

Richard Coleman age 16

“I remember the injections and my hair falling out”

 

The Colemans have lived in Maryport, 20 miles north of Sellafield all their lives. Their son Richard was diagnosed as suffering from acute lymphatic leukaemia when he was four. Now 16 Richard seems to have recovered fully: he has had no recurrence since he was six. Terry Coleman is secretary of the local branch of the Leukaemia Care Society. The family have been offered legal aid. “I don’t remember much about my treatment because I was so young,” says Richard. “But I do remember the injections and my hair falling out. It affected my schooling because I had a lot of time off. I’m now looking for a job, but they are very rare round here. I spend quite a bit of time visiting other children with leukaemia with my parents. I feel very sorry for them, but I know that seeing me gives confidence to the parents. They see that I have survived.” The Colemans home is 50 yards from the beach at Maryport. “I walked there when I was pregnant,” says Terry. “Richard was always playing there. Another parent I know who used to walk there also has a lad who has leukaemia. When Greenpeace took samples of radioactive silt to Downing Street, nobody would go near it. That’s what we have been living on top of.”

 

When Richard was ill with leukaemia, he also contracted bacterial meningitis. His father gave up his job with the water authority at tat time because of the risk of bringing bacteria home. “I was devastated but I had to, my main concern was the lad.” Says Thomas Coleman. “I’d like to go back 10 years before Sellafield opened and see how many cases of leukaemia there were then. Its all very well for BNFL to say they have cleaned the plant up now. I’m 100 percent behind them if they have. But its too late now, the leukaemia is there.”

US NRC Public Meeting re Augmented Inspection at Toshiba’s Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina, Sept. 27th

While Cumbrian and North West businesses are encouraged to salivate over “huge investment” from the proposed diabolic Moorside plant…the developers of that plant are embroiled in worldwide mega fraudulent accounting scandals.

Mining Awareness +

Westinghouse Hopkins SC
Toshiba-Westinghouse’s Hopkins South Carolina Nuclear Fuel Facility

NRC Schedules Public Meeting to Discuss Results  of Augmented Inspection at Westinghouse
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/us-nrc-investigates-cause-of-uranium-build-up-at-toshiba-westinghouse-nuclear-fuel-facility-last-extensive-clean-up-7-years-ago/
At the same facility within the last year: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/dangerous-alpha-radiation-surface-contamination-on-toshiba-shipment-workers-burned-at-toshiba-facility-in-south-carolina-same-facility-separate-events/

INDIA SEEKS US GOVERNMENT LOAN FOR TOSHIBA=WESTINGHOUSE NUCLEAR REACTORS
EXCLUSIVE – India seeks loan from U.S. for nuclear reactors, snags remain
Posted:Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:05:50 +0530
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India is negotiating with U.S. Export-Import Bank for an $8-9 billion loan to finance six Westinghouse Electric nuclear reactors, two sources familiar with the talks said, although a lending freeze at the trade agency threatens progress

http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/INtopNews/~3/BPvHjUfjNXM/india-nuclear-exclusive-westinghouse-us-idINKCN11S00U

The $9 Billion loan would be ultimately guaranteed by the US taxpayer – apparently Obama’s attempt to give a parting present to Japan and its nuclear industry. Although it is unclear how many jobs are at Toshiba’s Westinghouse Cranberry Township PA site, it is millions of dollars per job retained. Job numbers seem to be in the 1,000 to 4,000 range. If it’s 4,000…

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No Hospital Services? Then NO MOORSIDE!

bring-hospital-services-back-to-west-cumbria-or-no-moorside

Last Night there was a quiet protest outside a meeting called by MP Jamie Reed regarding the criminal plan to withdraw yet more services from the West Cumberland Hospital.  Our friend tells us he stood quietly  in the foyer – not even in the meeting. Even so he was told to leave the foyer of the meeting repeatedly by Jamie Reed’s PA.  The single placard said:

“BRING SERVICES BACK

TO W.C.H or

NO MOORSIDE!”

which is a legitimate request respectfully made.

There was much support for this statement from members of the public going into the meeting with many quietly saying out of the corners of their mouths (remember this was all within sight of the nuclear obsessed MP Jamie Reed)

“well done”

“you are right”

“I agree”

 Our colleague was interviewed by three lots of media including the BBC.   All of whom decided not to show or even mention the awful scenario of a plan to build the biggest nuclear development in Europe while at the same time withdrawing  hospital services from West Cumbria.  Why the silence? Why the taboo?  Is it too embarrassing for words or images?

From the News and Star

Public voice anger during hospital meeting

Copeland MP Jamie Reed addresses the packed Success Regime meeting at the United Reformed Church in Whitehaven.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed addresses the packed Success Regime meeting at the United Reformed Church in Whitehaven.
22 September 2016 12:20PM

More than 400 people turned out to a heated public meeting over health services in Whitehaven.

New parents, retired midwives and consultants were among those to tackle bosses about controversial proposals to downgrade-consultant led maternity services and paediatrics.

They expressed fears that mums and babies would die if they had to travel to Carlisle in labour. The meeting, organised by Copeland MP Jamie Reed, came as the Government-appointed Success Regime prepares to unveil its preferred options on Monday.

Its boss said Sir Neil McKay stressed that they haven’t fully ruled out retaining a 24/7 consultant-led maternity unit at the West Cumberland Hospital.

However he suggested another option would be to have a dedicated maternity ambulance based at Whitehaven to carry out transfers to the Cumberland Infirmary.

His comments were met with angry heckles from residents, some of who shared their personal stories to show how important the existing services are to the people of west Cumbria.

Elizabeth Brough, whose husband Trevor is a retired obstetric consultant who worked in Whitehaven, said that when he took the job they had to promise to live within 10 miles of the hospital so he could get there quickly in an emergency.

She therefore questioned how it was now safe to transfer women 40 miles.

Uranium Hexaflouride: Cheshire’s Hidden Menace STOCKPILED

This Could Not Happen in Leafy Cheshire?  Think again!

Our colleagues at CLOSE CAPENHURST  have dared to ask the questions:

“How Much Depleted Hex Is At Capenhust ? ? ?

How Much Hex ?

Uranium Hexafluoride is highly toxic, radioactive, corrosive to most metals, and reacts violently with water.

One of the questions we have been asking since the Close Capenhurst Campaign was established is just how much Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride is stored at the URENCO Capenhurst site.

The best answer we have received is ‘ A vast Quantity’,which is also the only way we have been able to describe it.

We just don’t know.

Although one recent article stated that it is some 60,000 tonnes.

This is exactly what we want to know.

1. How many containers of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride are stored at the Capenhurst site ?

2. What is the total mass of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride which each of the containers at Capenhurst can hold ?

3. What is the total mass of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride which is stored at the Capenhurst site ?

&

4. How much of the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride will the new tailing plant at Capenhurst be able to process each hour ?

We recently submitted these questions to the Office of Nuclear Regulation as a Freedom of Information request.

This is the response which we received from them: –

‘We receive updates (a month in arrears from relevant UK dutyholders) on the amounts of material held on sites that are under our Nuclear Safeguards regime. Whilst we hold some of the data you require, we unfortunately do not receive it in the format that you have requested – it would take a significant amount of time to interrogate the data, to extract the specific volume of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride and provide the information in the requested format, approximately 60 man hours at a cost of £900 over and above the £600 or 3 days’ effort that you are assigned under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We cannot release the data set in its entirety as it contains Sensitive Nuclear Information, which would need to be redacted/extracted under section 24 of FOIA, National Security.’

In other words

They would only be willing to let us have the answer, if we were willing to give them £900.

This ‘fee’ will then be used to redact much of the information from any reply which we might receive.

Our response to this is as follows.

– 1. That what we asked for relates to a matter of very great public concern, and should be freely available to us all.

– 2. That we Do Not intend to pay out any money in order to maintain the secrecy which is an integral part of how the Nukiller Industry operates.

&

– 3. That we will continue to keep asking the same questions until we get the information which we require.”

Manufacture of Uranium Hexaflouride is a (deliberately) forgotten and ignored part of the nuclear fuel chain – all of which is diabolic …..

Nuclear Fuel Chain in the North West

 

Wasdale Show 8th October 2016

Wasdale Show 2016.jpg

Radiation Free Lakeland are proud to be taking part in the wonderful Wasdale Show again this year.

8th October 2016

We will have a stall with information the petition and will be launching our Competition

HEDGEHOGS SAY SAVE OUR HOMES!

Moorside Would Destroy How Many Ancient Hedges?

1km  2km  3km  4km  5km  6km  over 6km

How Many Hedgehogs?

20  40  60  90  120  140  over 160

We will have the Stop Moorside petition which now has nearly 11,000 signatures despite so little publicity from the main stream media.

There will be information and free stuff to take away.

 

More about the Wasdale Show

Wasdale Head Show & Shepherd’s Meet

There has been a “Shepherds Meet” at Wasdale Head for over 100 years,  little is known of the early years other than that it was originally held in “The Chicken Field” which is the right-hand field just over the old packhorse bridge.

It is believed that the “Shepherds Meet” started off with farmers from Wasdale meeting the farmers from the adjoining valleys of Ennerdale, Buttermere, Borrowdale, Eskdale and possibly Langdale, who walked their Tips (Rams) over to Wasdale Head to trade them, swap them or hire them. This is why the show is held so late in the year, Tip Lousing (Letting the rams loose with the ewes) in the valleys being in November so lambs being born in April. In all probability the showing of sheep also started in the early years and possibly also the showing of shepherd’s dogs, Hound Trailing would also have been introduced in these early years.

There were no Shepherd’s Meets or Shows in WW2 and in 1947 The Wasdale Head Show and shepherds meet restarted in its current location. With farmers having motorised transport, the practice of walking sheep to the show soon all but died out but this also made the Show more accessible and therefore it started to grow. Cumberland and Westmoreland Wrestling and the Fell Race would have been introduced soon after WW2 and at this time the traditional singing took place in the dining room at The Wastwater Hotel (Now The Wasdale Head Inn). Children’s sports were introduced in the 60’s, soon followed by classes for none working dogs as well as the terrier racing.

More Trade Stands starting making appearances and what was once a shepherd’s meet became the show it is today with the latest two major changes being the “The Craft Barn” (to give traders somewhere dry to set up their stall in times of inclement weather) and the introduction of the vintage classes.

All of this has broadened the appeal of the show and what was once a simple gathering of farmers is now a great family day out where the show committee endeavour to maintain the traditions and history of the event but at the same time offer something for everyone.


Entrance to Show £4 Adults, Children FREE
FREE Car Parking (Off field in signposted separate car park field)


Programme of events with approximate timings

  • 10.00am – PROMPT JUDGING TO START
  • 1.00pm – DOG AND TERRIER CLASSES WILL BE JUDGED FOLLOWED BY CHILDRENS’ PETS AND SHEPHERDS’ BOOTS
  • 1.00pm – UNDER 15 CHILDRENS SPORTS
  • 1.00pm – STICKS/CROOKS WILL BE JUDGED
  • 2.00pm – SENIOR HOUND TRAIL
  • 2.05pm – SENIOR AND JUNIOR FELL RACES.
  • 2.45pm – SENIOR MAIDEN TRAIL
  • 4.00pm – CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND WRESTLING. BOYS
  • 4.15pm – PUPPY TRAIL
  • 4.45pm – PUPPY MAIDEN TRAIL

 

 

 

 

 

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Beech Party: pages 32 & 33

20 years ago – a Beech Party to save 50 trees the Lake District National Park wanted to fell as “dangerous.” Shame the National Park aren’t so keen on safety when it comes to new nuclear on the River Ehen floodplain near Sellafield (Just 20 miles away from the Rusland Beeches as the crow flies!)  Mind blowing that the National Park are actively supporting the diabolic Moorside plan.

Wastwater Chronicles

32-33

22nd Sept 1996

Beech Party

The banners were made by different people and left up after everyone had gone home.  There were people who had travelled from as far away as Carlisle to support the trees.

Visitors to the Beech Party who didn’t have to travel far where Tony Wood’s saddleback pigs from Abbots Reading Farm.  The four saddlebacks were having a great time eating the beech mast.

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Bríd Smith TD attacks Government inaction on Sellafield risks

Richard Boyd Barrett TD

Brid-Smith-2a-241x300People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith, accused the Government and Minister Dennis Naughton of dangerous inaction after recent revelations over the safety of the Sellafield nuclear facility. Deputy Smith said the Minister’s statement that they are seeking a meeting of the “UK-Ireland Contact Group on Radiological Matters” was farcical considering the seriousness of the recent revelations.
Deputy Smith said that recent revelations highlighted by a wistleblower on the BBC’s Panorama program, only confirmed longstanding fears from campaigners about the site. “There is a long history of scares, radioactive leaks, near misses and unsafe practices at this site. The recent revelations confirm the British Government’s own National Audit Office complaint from 2012 about the management of 50 year old storage ponds. We were told then it was being sorted just as we are being reassured now. The Government’s attitude is incomprehensible considering the potential disaster that awaits if a fire…

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Did George Monbiot just Pop the “White Elephant” Myth of New Nuclear?

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Did George Monbiot just pop the “white elephant” myth with his assertion that Hinkley is a “preposterous white elephant.” ?
George is ever so keen on new nuclear especially on burning plutonium wastes. So when he uses the term “white elephant” we should sit up and take notice.  We should question why mainstream NGOs have allowed new nuclear proposals to become synonymous with a “White Elephant” rather than for example the far less benign “Hydra”.
White Elephant: A white elephant is a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. Benign but it can bankrupt you.
Hydra: The defining feature of the Hydra was of course its multiple serpentine, snake like heads, with sharp curved teeth the Hydra would be able to deliver poison fast enough to render a man immovable in minutes. The body of the hydra itself was again snake like, and the Hydra was said to leave trails that were poisonous too, so avoiding the path of the beast was paramount. The heads would regrow back double when cut off making this a Herculean foe to defeat.  Deadly it can kill you.
New nuclear would be so much more than a “white elephant”.  Try “premeditated murder.”   This is how John Gofman one of the founding fathers of nuclear energy described the licensing of any new reactors …and he should know.

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Sellafield – Contempt of Parliament – BBC News missed it.

Activist news source

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The nuclear industry supported press, in rebuffing the BBC Panorama teams claims of safety issues and lies to Parliament, we see some counters to the safety concerns but no response to the well documented evidence of the head of the Sellafield consortium lying to the Parliamentary committee and covering up the grave incident of plutonium release (and its cost) in November 2014.

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Tony Price lies to Parliament (from Panorama Documentary)

The Spokesperson for Sellafield can be seen on the video acting a bit surprised at the questioning and revelations the Panorama reporter revealed. He just denied that any “spin” (ie lies) were said during the Parliamentary committee and that is the last word we have on this explosive revelation of criminality from the nuclear industry.

It is most surprising that the BBC News office did not pick this up as we see on the BBC web site they are…

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Hinkley C – the Cumbrian Connection

chinese-nuclear-waste-protests
Nuclear Waste Plant Protests in China – August 2016

18th September 2016

 

Dear Prime Minister May,

 

Congratulations on your appointment to Prime Minister. Your appointment has already been a rollercoaster ride here in Cumbria.

 

Radiation Free Lakeland are a group of volunteers working for nuclear safety and we were delighted when you put the brakes on Hinkley.

 

As you will know Cumbria is the increasingly unwilling and much bribed back end of the nuclear industry. From Hinkley spent fuel already comes to Sellafield for reprocessing. As a result of reprocessing “low level” (“diluted” plutonium, cesium, tritium etc) waste is being dumped into Drigg “Low Level Waste Repository”, a few miles south of Sellafield. There are much opposed plans for one or two Geological Disposal Facillities (as deep as Scafell is high) under Cumbria for the existing heat generating intermediate and high level nuclear wastes.

 

We note that EDF are now partners in the running of the Drigg site as well as the new owners of the controversial radioactive metal recycling plant previously owned by Studsvik in Workington, Cumbria

 

Are EDF planning for radioactively contaminated clothing and day to day routinely exposed materials that would arise from the running of the Hinkley C site to be dumped in Drigg, the UK’s “Low Level Waste Repository”?

 

When asked “What do you plan to do with nuclear waste and spent fuel produced by Hinkley point C?”

The reply was:

“EDF Energy will store the nuclear waste and spent fuel produced by Hinkley Point C on the power station site during the 60 year operational period. At the end of generation, and as part of the 20 year process of decommissioning, the intermediate level waste (ILW) is expected to be transported off the site and disposed of to a national Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The spent fuel will remain on site until it has cooled sufficiently to allow it to be disposed of to the GDF, which may be around 50 years after the end of generation.

At the end of the decommissioning period, EDF Energy will make a payment to the Government to cover the remaining costs of the storage and disposal to the GDF. Ownership of the spent fuel will then transfer to the Government who will continue to look after it on the Hinkley Point Site.

The full costs of decommissioning, waste management and waste disposal will be paid for by EDF Energy through its Funded Decommissioning Programme. This means money will be paid into an independent Fund Company over the lifetime of the station to meet these costs. The money is held separately from EDF Energy and the Government and can only be used to meet the decommissioning and waste liabilities.
”

 

 

So the Hinkley C plan hinges on “The GDF” being available to dump the “hot” waste in, notwithstanding the tsunami of day to day operational wastes that would come to Drigg.

 

Greenpeace withdrew their legal challenge to Hinkley C on the basis that Her Majesty’s Government made a witness statement outlining “a plan” for what to do with the waste, despite Cumbria’s three times refusal to accommodate a Geological Dump. In December 2013 Radiation Free Lakeland asked under Freedom of Information to see the witness statement from HMG that led to Greenpeace withdrawing their legal challenge. “request for ‘sight of the witness Statements from 13th September up to and including the 19th September 2013 on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the case of the Queen v Greenpeace Ltd.”

We were refused sight of Her Majesty’s Government’s witness statement both by HMG and by Greenpeace.

 

 

Why?

 

We ask again to see sight of the witness statement that made Greenpeace withdraw their legal challenge. As Cumbrians we have a right to know how the nuclear industry plan to force their nuclear wastes upon us.

 

 

Hinkley C is trumpeted as being capable of producing up to 7% of the UK’s electricy. This pales into insignificance when allowing for the energy that would be required to look after the nuclear wastes resulting from Hinkley C. Sellafield uses £30M of gas every year and all the pylons running along the West Coast of Cumbria are taking electricity TO Sellafield. One thing is for sure those Chinese who are right now bravely opposing nuclear waste dumps on their land will not be wanting battalions of slow boats full of Hinkley C’s spent fuel, radioactive rubble, contaminated soil and water, turning up on their shores.   Neither do we.

 

Please reconsider your plan to approve Hinkley C and please, can we have answers to the following two questions:

 

  1. We ask again to see sight of the witness statement that made Greenpeace withdraw their legal challenge. As Cumbrians we have a right to know how the nuclear industry plan to force a “Geological Disposal Facility” upon us.

 

  1. Are EDF planning for radioactively contaminated clothing and day to day routinely exposed materials that would arise from the running of the Hinkley C site to be dumped in Drigg, the UK’s “Low Level Waste Repository”?

 

Yours Sincerely

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

 

 

REFERENCES

EDF Buys Studsvik Waste Treatment

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/studsvik-ab-studsvik-sells-waste-061900284.html

 

Lock the Gate on Drigg – No More Nuclear Waste

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/lock-the-gate-on-drigg-the-uks-nuclear-waste-site

 

Greenpeace Challenge Withdrawn

“The group lodged an application for judicial review in May, arguing the new plant should not have been granted consent without having a plan in place for dealing with radioactive waste. Campaigner Emma Gibson said that the Government had since disclosed the bulk of its defence, which she admitted showed there were plans for a waste dump. Greenpeace maintains that it is “highly unlikely” the dump will ever be built.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/greenpeace-abandons-hinkley-point-lost-cause-8906372.html

 

Chinese Opposition to Nuclear Waste

“In just a few days, the official stand of Lianyungang has undergone a sea change,” read a comment on Sohu.com, a Chinese news website. “Don’t underestimate just how determined the public is in opposition to nuclear waste, which is far more dangerous than wastewater from any paper pulp mill.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/world/asia/china-nuclear-fuel-lianyungang.html?_r=1

 

Freedom of Information Request

Dear Ms Birkby,

FOI Request – ref. 13/1761

Department of Energy & Climate Change

3 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2AW

E: foi@decc.gsi.gov.uk http://www.gov.uk/decc

20 December 2013

Thank you for your request for ‘sight of the witness Statements from 13th September up to and including the 19th September 2013 on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in the case of the Queen v Greenpeace Ltd.

Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

We can confirm that we do hold information that falls within the scope of your request. However, as the information you have requested was compiled for the purposes of litigation and is information contained in a document that was filed with a court, section 32(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act applies. This exempts information that is held only by virtue of being contained in any document filed with, or otherwise placed in the custody of, a court for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter.

􏰀

Whilst the contents of the witness statement is exempt under s 32(1)(a) of FOIA, information relevant to your request concerning the Government’s policy for long term management of radioactive waste can be found in the GDF annual report :

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-radioactive-waste- safely-implementing-geological-disposal-annual-report

 

 

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