Do you know if trains carrying nuclear waste go through your neighbourhood? All radioactive waste (spent fuel) from nuclear power stations is sent to Sellafield in Cumbria.
It is mainly transported by rail with Direct Rail Services (owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) . Some parts of the journey are by road.
The late Bob Crow, leader of the Railway Maritime and Transport Workers Union was opposed to continued transports of nuclear waste around the country. Earlier this year a nuclear freight train pulling a wagon used to transport spent fuel smashed into a stranded car on a level crossing at Silverdale. Silverdale is the next station along the line from Carnforth where the iconic film Brief Encounter was filmed.
The “train remained upright” and was carrying empty flasks. However it is not just the flasks loaded with spent fuel that are cause for concern. The National Radiological Protection Board pointed out that empty flasks and even the trains carrying them have been found to be radioactively contaminated on arrival at a nuclear plant for loading with spent fuel.
The only reason the spent fuel is loaded on trains to travel through towns and villages to Sellafield is because of continued reprocessing. The nuclear industry is excellent at dislocating cause from effect and illnesses resulting from nuclear flasks hurtling around the country towards Sellafield to reprocess spent fuel that no- one wants, may take years to manifest.
At Silverdale no-one was immediately injured in the crash but the car was dragged 300 metres down the track and ended up beneath the locomotive, which had to be cut free putting rescuers at radiological risk.
There is nothing brief about the railway network’s encounter with radioactive waste transports, which are set to snowball if new build is allowed to go ahead.
Please Join Radiation Free Lakeland in leafletting and talking to people outside Carnforth Station on Saturday 19th July from 11am . We are supporting the Nuclear Trains Action Group event at Crewe Station. Other stations all along the nuclear waste route are also being leafletted on the same day.
Bob Crow RMT on London Derailment: “The fact that this wasn’t one of the nuclear trains that use that line at that time of night is a relief to everyone but that appears to have been pure luck.”