Why has the wettest place in England not got enough freshwater?

Radiation Free Lakeland protested today outside the Lake District Still
Waters Partnership meeting at the Hydro Hotel, Bowness.

Protestors asked delegates to direct a question to the chair Lord Clark
(who pulled out of the meeting).   Lord Clark  is chair of the Lake
District National Park Partnership and non executive director of

The question is: Where will the freshwater for new nuclear build and
wastes come from?

Millions of gallons of fresh water are already abstracted daily from
Wastwater and other fresh water sources to cool the wastes at Sellafield
(salt water is too corrosive).   Meanwhile United Utilities are striving
to find new freshwater sources for domestic supplies on the West Coast.

A RAFL spokesperson said "the discussions today about protecting the
Lakes’ water resources are all very worthy – but the biggest threat to
Cumbria’s Lakes, rivers and tarns is from the nuclear industry.  The
industry is being accommodated by regulators such as the Environment
Agency who today told Rafl that there have been discussions about having a
desalination plant on the West Coast.  This is lunacy!  There is not
enough fresh water in Cumbria to cool the heels of existing nuclear

More Info:
Radiation Free Lakeland -Leaflet handed out to delegates today:

"Everybody's Water, Everybody's Solution" Lake District Still Waters Partnership 8th Annual Liason Meeting chaired by Lord Clark of Windermere.

Please ask Lord Clark in his dual role as Chair of LDNP Partnership and
non executive director of Sellafield:

Q. Where will the freshwater for new nuclear build and new nuclear wastes come from ?

Millions of gallons of fresh water are already abstracted daily from
Wastwater and other fresh water sources to cool the wastes at Sellafield.
meanwhile United Utilities are striving to find new freshwater sources for
domestic supplies on the West Coast.
“this is the start of a long-term project to re-evaluate the way we
deliver water in this special part of Cumbria so that we maintain
excellent services to our customers while minimising the impact on very
sensitive local habitats. We reviewed a wide range of possible options for
new water supplies in conjunction with the Environment Agency. One good
alternative source is the sandstone aquifer in the Egremont area and
that's what we are tapping into. We may need to look at other potential
sources in future too.  We also want to reduce the area's overall demand
for water”  http://www.unitedutilities.com/7705.aspx
More information:
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: 15301320 - NDA response - water abstraction etc.
From:    "Enquiries" <Enquiries@nda.gov.uk>
Date:    Tue, November 15, 2011 11:02 am
To:    Radiation Free Lakeland
Dear Ms Birkby
Please find set out below responses to the queries received from you on
the 24th October:
1. Regarding your question 'What is the salary per year of Sellafield
Ltd's non executive director Lord Clark (including for example attendance
expenses)?'  This information is not held by the NDA and I have been
informed by Sellafield Ltd that this information is not available in the
public domain.

Water Abstraction
The Abstraction licence issued by the Environment Agency to the NDA allows
abstraction of a total of 6,637,307 M3 of water per annum from Wastwater,
but the maximum abstraction in any 24 hour period must not exceed
18,184m3. During FY 2010/11 Sellafield abstracted a total of 5,166,397 m3
of water which represents 78% of the maximum allowed annual water
abstraction. In the same period over 0.6 million m3 of water (10% of the
water abstracted from Wastwater) was treated and used as "domestic water"
on site to support the health, hygiene and welfare needs of the over
10,000 people who work at Sellafield. The Environment Agency have in
addition issued licences for water abstraction from the River Ehen, River
Calder, Beckermet Mine and Boreholes near Calder Bridge and Calder Valley.
During FY 2010/11  Sellafield abstracted a combined total of 320,431 m3 of
water from these sources, this represents less than 6% of the total water
used at Sellafield. The data above excludes abstraction from Wastwater and
Calder Valley Boreholes used solely to maintain compensation freshwater
flow in the rivers Irt and Calder during extended periods of dry weather
for ecological & environmental reasons.

Gas purchases
The volume of gas used by Fellside CHP for 2010 (calendar year 1Jan-31Dec
2010) is 210,646,330 M3 at STP (STP is Standard Temp (15C)& Pressure of
1013.25 mbar).
We wish to point out that this data could not accurately be used in a
carbon footprint calculation. The actual CO2 emission data for 2010 is
421,691 Tonnes CO2, (this value has been independently verified under the
EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS)) and relates to the entire electrical
and steam output from the Fellside CHP power station…..

Future Projections – Water and Gas Useage
Any new build associated with Nuclear Power generation is a matter for the
developer NuGen to develop its own proposals for water demand and
potential sources of suitable water supply.…….
Any additional demand for gas and water use for the new build reactor
adjacent to Sellafield would be a matter for NuGen and not the NDA.”
 – this is a cop out - the NDA are responsible for wastes and are
promoting new build.

page 2 

Freshwater: just how bad is the nuclear industry?

Water is our most critical raw material– more important than oil.

For fresh water there are no alternatives.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestlé, said in The Economist in
December 2008: "I am convinced that, under present conditions and with the
way water is being managed, we will run out of water long before we run
out of fuel."

In September 2009, The Department of Energy and Climate Change set up a
campaign to persuade the public to cut their water usage. The campaign,
cheerily led by TV presenter Kate Humble, calls on people to cut
consumption by 20 litres per day. The national daily average for water use
is 150 litres.

"Water is a precious resource but we all waste too much of it. Saving
water at home doesn't need to be a big sacrifice - just spending one
minute less in the shower can make a big difference," said Ms Humble.
"Simple changes can really add up to a better environment - meaning more
water for the wildlife and countryside around us as well as saving on
carbon emissions generated in the treatment and transportation of water to
our taps."

True – all true - but at the same time as launching this campaign, DECC is
promoting several new nuclear power plants in the UK on the back of having
‘solved’ the waste problem by ‘geological disposal’ in Cumbria. Nuclear
power is the most resource hungry of all sources of electricity.
• Uranium mining/milling /tailing dams
• Conversion to steam to power the turbines
• Cooling pond water discharged into the sea
• Looking after the waste (long after electricity production ceases)
• ‘geological disposal’  means a large mine 1000m deep x 25km sq – this
would irreversibly alter Cumbria’s water table even before high level
nuclear wastes were emplaced.

Radiation Free Lakeland was formed in November 2008 following Cumbria
County Council’s “expression of interest” in the geological disposal of
nuclear waste. Supporters are people from all walks of life in Cumbria and
further afield whose aims are: a) to ensure the risks from nuclear waste
are minimized and b) that no more nuclear waste is produced – all are
volunteers  (dictionary not DECC definition!) rafl@mariannebirkby.plus.com
     015395 63671

17 thoughts on “Why has the wettest place in England not got enough freshwater?

  1. Phil Upp

    Come on, first you say the Lakeland geology is leaky and all the water from the dump will come up, but now you say there isn’t enough fresh water in what is the wettest part of the country? Can’t you cool the reactor with water from the repository?

  2. You are right the water from the 1000m dump has to go somewhere I suppose Duddon Valley could become the new Haweswater? Water straight from the dump would be too hot (at 1000m the temperature is 38 degrees)and dirty (corrosive) to cool the nuclear wastes with.

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