Today is New Years Eve and we walked the 5 minute walk from the centre of Beckermet to the outer boundary of “Moorside” in wind, mist and rain with our soggy banners. “Moorside” is the innocuous name the nuclear developers are calling the plan for 3 new nuclear reactors and associated sprawl. The area is beautiful, with ancient hedgerows and two Sites of Scientific Interest, the River Ehen and Church Moss. The whole of this 500 acre area has been bought by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with public money – in effect – WE OWN IT! In so far as anyone can own a barn owl quartering the greenfields, or the roe deer pronking across fields, or the oystercatcher, lapwing and curlew with their wonderful joyful cries across the fields and shore.
We saw Petersburgh Farm where Copeland Borough Council have just refused permission for a single wind turbine application on the grounds of visual intrusion and damage to wildlife. Its fair enough for them to scrutinise planning applications and come to a decision but what happened to their scrutiny over the “exploratory” 100 boreholes up to 150 metres deep? They didn’t even discuss it!! The decision for these boreholes was delegated to Copeland Borough Council’s Development Manager. The boreholes are in preparation for three diabolic nuclear reactors which would either have cooling towers 600 – 800ft (243 metres) high or vast cooling installations churning up the radioactively contaminated Irish Sea.
It is an open secret that Petersburgh Farm would be bought up and flattened in order to make an outer perimeter, a huge grass bund to try to hide the shame of Moorside. The pretty tarns at Petersburgh Farm would be filled in and become stinking ponds of radioactive run off.
We saw the ancient hedges with polypody ferns and even in this wintry season a mass of foliage. These hedges will be over 800 years old and yet the developers in their planning application said that the approximately 12 miles of hedges were non existent.
Where is the outcry? Where is the Investigative Comment in the National Press?
Has the nuclear industry so cowed Cumbrians that they will bow to accept this diabolic plan?
Thanks to The Morning Star …..the only National Press to have highlighted the dumping of democracy to achieve planning consent for 100 boreholes that will dredge up groundwater and mud and rocks contaminated by Sellafield.
An area publicly owned that should be a buffer zone.
BOREHOLES, Lies, Deception and the Dumping of Democracy
On New Years Eve, supporters of a radiation free Lakeland will be taking a 10 minute walk from the centre of the pretty Lakeland village of Beckermet to the biggest crime scene of the year. They will be representing the thousands of people who have already signed a petition to Stop Moorside. The crime is taking place at Petersburgh and Greenmoorside Farm, a beautiful historically fertile lowland area between the Lakeland mountains and the Irish Sea. The drilling of 100 boreholes up to 150m has begun in preparation for 3 proposed nuclear reactors to be built by the same people responsible for Fukushima. The consent for the drilling of the 100 boreholes has been achieved by lies, deception and the dumping of any semblance of democracy.
While Copeland Borough Council give their full scrutiny to any applications for a single wind turbine, the same is not true of nuclear planning applications. Petersburgh’s Farm application for a single wind turbine was refused in December 2014 while the application by the Nuclear industry (in cahoots with govnt) for 100 boreholes in the same area was given consent in 2011 (or 2012?) without any scrutiny or discussion by either Copeland Borough Council or Cumbria County Council. The decision was instead delegated to the “Development Manager” of Copeland BC. Who knew? Certainly not Radiation Free Lakeland who in 2011 were busy trying to raise awareness of the idiocy of geological dumping. Meanwhile the nuclear industry were laughing at us and smoothing the way to achieve the plan to build 3 new reactors. They are still laughing and the drilling of boreholes has started. Will the New Year see an upsurge of Resistance to these Nuclear Crimes?
Supporters of a radiation free Lakeland will meet 12 noon on Wednesday at the White Mare, Beckermet to walk to witness the Nuclear Crime
NuGEN: GDF Suez a French-owned energy multinational (also owns SITA UK who specialize in waste including nuclear waste – they were behind the plan for the nuclear waste dump at Keekle Head.
Toshiba/Westinghouse …Toshiba supplied the steam generator, architecture and reactor for Fukushima reactors numbers 3 and 5, while Hitachi (merged with Toshiba) supplied the reactor, steam generator and architecture for Fukushima reactor no 4. Westinghouse built the first nuclear reactor for a submarine.
LIES: The developer, NuGEN has deceived repeatedly in order to secure planning consent for 100 boreholes up to 150m deep at Moorside in West Cumbria. NuGEN says there are “no protected and priority species,” when there is a huge diversity of wildlife including species on the red list.
NuGEN also says “there are no trees or hedgerows” — again this is a fraud, there are at least 12 miles of ancient hedgerows and trees. NuGEN says that “there are no designated or important habitats or other biodiversity features” — again this is fraudulent. There is the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Church Moss. The watershed of the borehole area drains into here. As well as the SSSI of Church Moss there is also the SSSI of the River Ehen.
At least one borehole would be on the flood plain of the River Ehen. NuGEN also says that the drilling will not take place in an area of flood plain and that the water and mud brought up out of the borehole will not be contaminated. This is despite the area having well-documented radioactive contamination from Sellafield. Formerly several farmers farmed these 500 acres. Now it is down to one, with beef cattle in the same area as the borehole “exploration” bringing Sellafield seepage to the surface.
Where will this be dumped? In reply to Radiation Free Lakeland, NuGEN have said: “You will not find permits for the boreholes currently being drilled on the Moorside site as they are not required. “The planning consent NuGen was granted in 2012 permits the drilling of the boreholes. The Environment Agency are aware of this activity … a specific permit is not required…”
In other words, with no discussion or scrutiny from any councillors the Development Control Manager of Copeland Borough Council has given permission for 100 boreholes …following lies from the developers.
Question: You talked about the biggest project at Sellafield – Silos Direct
Encapsulation Plant (SDP). Can you explain whether that is within the current
spending plan or will it be additional spend?
John Clarke: The answer is a bit of both. The existing plan for Sellafield does
cover the SDP project however the cost is significantly more than originally
estimated and so we have to go back to Government for approval. Each site has an
overall site funding limit but it is up to the sites to
National Event Meeting Report 29 October 2014
decide where their priorities lie. The total cost for SDP is around £3 billion, but
that will not all fall within the next spending review – it will be over the next
12/13 years. The bulk is beyond the next spending round.
Question: Speaking as a county councillor, re new build. What is the relationship
between new build developers and the NDA?
John Clarke: The NDA has no direct role in new build, however, as an NDPB we are
supportive of Government policy. The role we do have is modest. We have been asked
to review new build operators’ plans for decommissioning to ensure they are costed
and adequate. A fund will be created, intended to develop sufficiently to discharge
the liability. We are also looking at whether there would be ways of optimising
spent fuel management between us and new build operators. We have previously sold
land for new build and we have more land available if necessary. We are also having
discussions with new build developers to see where we can work collaboratively, for
example on skills, managing a transient workforce (for construction) and on
stakeholder engagement issues, to ensure we are joined up.
Question: I have a number of questions regarding Sellafield.
Are you getting to the bottom of what is in the ponds? What materials (plutonium,
uranics, etc) are in there and have we got an accurate inventory?
Is the physical structure of the ponds sound?
Are you using non-intrusive investigative techniques? Speed is of the essence here,
and the longer you take, the more worries there will be about the integrity of the
What emergency plans are in place if there is a leak and what are you doing to
ensure there is sufficient water?
John Clarke: Yes, we are getting to the bottom of many of the issues associated with
the ponds. In a general sense, we know what is in the ponds – spent fuel.
Specifically we don’t know what form the spent fuel is in. Lots of work is going on
to characterise, however, uncertainties will remain until we get to the bottom of
the ponds and see what is there.
On the physical integrity of the structures, we have taken core samples and they are
actually in pretty good condition. They wouldn’t meet modern standards but they are
not in imminent danger of falling down. We are using the most modern non-intrusive
techniques and carrying out a raft of work to reduce risks, particularly on
retrieving the waste. All sorts of techniques are being considered for retrievals
from the pond but we always come back to grabbers for the silos. This might sound
rather agricultural but it is the best way of accessing the silos. With ponds, we
are deploying underwater remotely operated submarines but we are always looking at
On emergency processes, being ready for an emergency is a high priority for us. The
key priority is to be prepared, especially since Fukushima, which has led to
arrangements being stepped up. We would all wish for the problems associated with
the ponds and silos to go away quickly but the most important consideration is to
ensure issues are dealt with safely – this is the No 1 priority.
Question: The plutonium debate needs more emphasis in the document and to be
Adrian Simper: I agree with the importance but we need to take our time to ensure
that we make the right decision.
The session on stakeholder engagement and socio-economics had to be cancelled due to
other sessions over running. Participants were sent a note of what would have been
said at the session and were asked to provide any feedback. The information from
that note is included below.
While the overarching principles of public and stakeholder engagement remain the
same, our experience over the last nine years and the different circumstances in
which we will be engaging in the future will result in some changes to the way in
which we deliver our engagement.
At the local community level, we will see several Magnox sites enter into Care &
Maintenance and Winfrith reach its Interim End State through the period of Strategy
3. With activity shifting towards monitoring and surveillance on these sites during
this period it is clear that the current structures and arrangements for engaging
locally with stakeholders will need to evolve to be appropriate to their changing
circumstances. On current plans three EdF Energy stations are due to close within
the Strategy 3 period – 2016 to 2021. Even if life extensions are agreed for these
stations they will probably be at least making plans for their eventual
decommissioning during the Strategy 3 period. Also, in the same period we are due to
see construction start on a new fleet of reactors on land adjacent to existing
We have been considering the appropriate mechanisms for local engagement around NDA
sites entering Care & Maintenance and these will continue to be the subject of
discussion with local stakeholders and the relevant site stakeholder groups. We do
not believe that a “one size fits all” approach is appropriate.
Given that some of these communities will have an EDF Energy station entering or
preparing for decommissioning and some with new build under construction as well,
there will clearly be a need for significant engagement. We propose to engage with
EdF Energy and the relevant new build companies to share our understanding and
experience of community engagement to help map out appropriate solutions in
partnership with each community.
Beyond the local community level we will review our engagement mechanisms to ensure
we offer good opportunities for discussion with all those who have an interest in
We undertook a review of national engagement during the Strategy 2 period and made
some changes. However, further changes to our estate, for example the creation of
one parent body to manage all the Magnox and RSRL sites, lead us to question how
appropriate the current engagement arrangements are.
Also, the increasing interest and involvement of local authorities around our sites
and in some cases a lack of dialogue between them and their site stakeholder group
have also resulted in us considering whether there are better forms of engagement.