An open letter to Tim Farron..
Colleagues in the Bristol area have informed us that the third nuclear
train this week has just been loaded again today at Bridgwater Station. Every week
trains carrying radioactive nuclear waste in flasks from Hinkley Point
nuclear power station are loaded in the middle of Bridgwater, right next
door to Eastover Primary School.
On their route to Sellafield, they pass towns and villages close to
schools and residential areas. The ONLY reason the waste is going to
Sellafield (rather than being kept on the site where it arises and looked
after there) is for reprocessing and to clear the decks at existing
nuclear plants to make room for yet more nuclear waste.
As you know the original use for reprocessing was to separate the
Plutonium out of the spent fuel in order to make nuclear weapons. As
there is now enough plutonium to annihilate the world many times over that
use is rather beside the point. The sole reason given for reprocessing
now is that uranium reserves are dwindling and an alternative nuclear fuel
has to be sought. Breeder reactors. So called because they actually
create MORE plutonium than they use. This Breeder Reactor technology
proved too unreliable, too dangerous and too costly.
With the failure of commercial breeders, the UK decided to use the
plutonium in Mixed Oxide (MOX) for ordinary reactors. The problem with
this is that there are no customers for MOX fuel and there have been huge
demonstrations in Japan on the ‘return’ of MOX from Sellafield.
A new report ‘Needless Nuclear Reprocessing:The Bridge to Unnecessary
Risk’ has just been published. The report is written from the Japanese
view point but is equally if not even more resonant to Sellafield.
“Reprocessing is the bridge between nuclear power plants and nuclear
weapons. Fukushima showed us the unimagined and undiscussed dangers of
nuclear power plants. Japan has already experienced the damage inflicted
by nuclear weapons. Rather than remaining stuck with policies popular in
the 1960s, Japan needs to reroute its policies away from reprocessing
toward more effective spent fuel disposal”.
This is, if anything even more true for the UK and Sellafield’s
reprocessing activity. Reprocessing is supposed to end by 2020 if the UK
honours its commitment to the OSPAR treaty and stops sending radioactivity
out to sea. 2020 is too far away, every day radioactive wastes arrive at
Sellafield for insane reprocessing which needs a staggering £30M+ of gas
every year to provide fossil fuel for the reprocessing activity. Every
day radionuclides previously unknown to our environment are sent out to
sea only to be returned to our beaches with each tide. Alpha, gamma and
beta particle finds are increasing dramatically year on year. Inhalation
of these particles are known to cause radiation linked diseases,
especially in children and women.
The reason for reprocessing was supposedly to halt uranium use. This has
not happened despite nuclear cheerleaders best efforts to persuade us that
pixie dust is all that is needed. In the real world and as a direct result
of those nuclear cheerleaders, uranium mining is increasing dramatically
worldwide because nuclear technology in over 50 years and with £billions
spent on research is still based on digging up the raw radioactive
material out of the ground.
So much so that even the worlds most important tropical icecap in Peru is
now under imminent threat from mining by Canadian companies. These
Canadian companies are the UK’s suppliers. The Peruvian uranium would be
sent to Springfields in Preston to be enriched prior to use in reactors.
This is sheer lunacy. The fact that the media are staying shtum about the
threat to this ‘rosetta stone’ icecap reeks of an unhealthy collusion
between the nuclear industry and some government departments.
Reprocessing is continuing at Sellafield only because of precedent and
pride of successive governments.
• Reprocessing waste costs at least twice as much as storing it.
Even British Energy – once BNFL’s biggest reprocessing customer
declared reprocessing to be ‘economic nonsense’ and desperately tried to
cancel its contracts.
• Returning this reprocessed waste involves dangerous shipments of liquid
high-level waste and plutonium around the world. This is the option
that the government ordered in 1976. Weapons-usable plutonium has been
shipped from Europe to Japan, causing massive global protest.
• Radioactive waste is constantly being transported around the UK. One
cask of highly radioactive spent fuel elements contains approximately as
much radiation as was released in the Chernobyl accident.
We urge you to halt needless and dangerous reprocessing at Sellafield as a
matter of urgency and to make a change to the nuclear industry’s culture
*Make Worse and Disperse* to
**Stop and Contain**.
Radiation Free Lakeland
Needless Nuclear Reprocessing: The Bridge to Unnecessary Risk
Nuclear Trains – Bristol
Time Table of Nuclear trains
Ospar and Reprocessing
Radioactive Particles on beaches due to reprocessing
Springfields, Preston, UK
Processing several thousand tonnes of uranium a year, UK Fuel Business,
based at Springfields has the experience and technology to manufacture
fuel for all major designs of nuclear reactor across the globe.
Peru Ice Cap and Uranium Mining
Macusani Yellowcake Inc. is a Canadian uranium exploration and development
company currently focussed on the exploration of its Kihitian, Colibri 2 &
3, and Corachapi properties on the Macusani Plateau in south-eastern Peru.
The Quelccaya Icecap, the world’s largest icecap is near Corani-Macusani
and is also imperiled, as are Alpaca in their primary homeland, which is
the Macusani area. Entire Andean Communities and plants and animals are
endangered by this proposed mining.