Rising Dump – a letter to the Leader of Cumbria County Council

Serious Assault –
Nuclear Dump

A letter to the leader of Cumbria County Council

Dear Councillor Martin,

GOVERNMENT’S NUKE DUMP CASE DOES NOT HOLD WATER

At last Friday’s seminar in Carlisle organised by the Sellafield Workers Campaign,
delegates including yourself were told that “a NO vote would have to have
extremely good scientific backup in order to justify itself”. The same
is even more true of a YES vote. This is underlined by the work of Dr
Rachel Western.

Presentation to be made to the Cabinet by Dr Rachel Western on 30th January

“In some ways the question of geology and nuclear waste burial is a red
herring. The nuclear industry concede that a nuclear burial site would
definitely leak radioactive atoms that would get back up to the surface
and into people’s drinking water and food – and so put them at risk of
cancer. The numbers involved are mind blowing – for example: when the
nuclear industry tested their leak rate calculations at a Uranium mine in
Brazil,
they underestimated the leak rate by 200 million.
Question
Would you agree that Cumbria County Council should not even consider
hosting a disposal facility for radioactive waste until the fundamental
research needs identified by the Government’s Advisory Committee, ‘CoRWM’
have been met?”

Please remember that if you vote yes on Wednesday you will be overturning
the findings of the Nirex Inquiry. Scientific evidence used at the Nirex
inquiry will not be able to be used as justification to withdraw later
down the line. Should you vote yes on Wednesday, Cumbria will be trapped
in a snare set by government and your name, along with the other DMB
councillors will go down in history.

yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby
on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk/news/protests-at-nuclear-waste-dump-meeting-in-carlisle-1.1030422?referrerPath=home

Nirex Case Didn’t Hold Water by Dr Rachel Western

Presentation to be made to Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Meeting
30th January 2013
30th Jan 2013

Leak Rate Calculations

1. In some ways the question of geology and nuclear waste burial is a red
herring. The geological issues are only concerned with whether or not
water from the repository will flow to the surface and reach crops and
drinking water supplies. A more critical question is the leak rate of the
radioactive atoms – ie. how many radioactive atoms are in the water that
leaks.
2. The nuclear industry concede that a nuclear burial site would
definitely leak radioactive atoms that would get back up to the surface
and into people’s drinking water and food – and so put them at risk of
cancer.
3. The critical point is that they have no idea at all just how many
radioactive atoms will escape the dump and so no idea at all how many
people will get cancer.
4. The numbers involved are mind blowing – for example: when the nuclear
industry tested their leak rate calculations at a Uranium mine in Brazil,
they underestimated the leak rate by 200 million .
5. Such big mistakes hardly seem credible, but they are easy to understand
when you look at the way the nuclear industry do their leak rate
calculations. What they try to do is put a figure on how much of a
particular element – for example Uranium, Plutonium or Carbon – will
dissolve. But atoms generally don’t travel solo – they almost always
link up with other atoms – for example: water, H2O is made up of two
hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom – three atoms altogether.
6. There are about ninety different types of chemical element and they
link up with each other in millions and millions of different ways to form
the vast complexity of the stuff that makes up our world.
7. These different chemical compounds behave differently and an important
difference in this context is the differences in how much they will
dissolve – and so how poisonous the underground water supplies will
become.
8. As an example of how important it is to know what type of chemical an
element is found in, diamonds and sugar may be compared. Diamonds are
pure carbon and don’t dissolve at all – sugar is carbon linked up with
hydrogen and oxygen and is extremely soluble. There is no sensible answer
to the question – how soluble is carbon. Similarly there is no sensible
answer to the question how soluble is uranium – or plutonium.

Need for More Research

1. The nuclear industry and the Government have argued that the
difficulties associated with calculating the leak rate of the proposed
repository can be solved by further research into disposal. However, such
research would take many years to carry out.

2. In 2011, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee suggested
that the NDA develops a long term research programme outlining how they
will ensure that there are adequate R&D capabilities and associated
expertise to meet their future needs for geological disposal.

3. In response the Government Radioactive Waste Management Advisory
Committee ‘CoRWM’ stated in June 2012 that they strongly supported the
Select Committee suggestion that the Research Councils, working with NDA,
should ensure that sufficient fundamental research is carried out on
geological disposal.
Question
Would you agree that Cumbria County Council should not even consider
hosting a disposal facility for radioactive waste until the fundamental
research needs identified by the Government’s Advisory Committee, ‘CoRWM’
have been met?

Dr Rachel E J Western BA (Oxon) PhD MRSC
Consultant to Radiation Free Lakeland
[ MRSC – Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry ]

referenced article available on request

3 thoughts on “Rising Dump – a letter to the Leader of Cumbria County Council

  1. K.Pratt

    My husband, now 70, lived in Ennerdale for part of his childhood, and Ennerdale has never left his heart. He’s taken me back there many times and I understand its pull on him. The idea of polluting this almost unspoiled part of the UK is horrific, especially when finding out how dubious the political and so called scientific reasons are for wanting an underground depository.

  2. Mark

    Great arguments regarding a clear NO vote for a NEW dump. However, do we have an alternative? The existing Sellafield site is a rotting time bomb that makes the fallout from Chernobyl look largely insignificant. I live in Cumbria and want to see a balanced, risk based, set of arguments and mitigations. How can we see the full picture?

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