Loaded flasks of nuclear wastes regularly travel through the Leighton Moss reserve in an area where red deer are being shot by the RSPB from specially built towers. For those interested in what exactly is being carried in these flasks… this is from No Nuclear Trains:
“The used rods contain uranium and plutonium and are extremely radioactive. When taken from the reactor they are stored in cooling ponds at the power station for up to 18 months (thus contaminating the water). The rods are then loaded into water-filled lead-lined steel containers called ‘flasks’, onto which a lid is bolted. Each 50-ton flask is then washed down to remove radioactive surface contamination, loaded onto a lorry which carries it to the nearest railhead, then transferred onto a flat-bed railway waggon (which weighs about 100 tons). A metal cover or ‘cabin’ is placed over each flask.
Well that’s it folks, nuclear waste dumps are now nationally significant infrastructure projects. The decision has been taken away from the local authorities and placed in the hands of the secretary of state and is now wide open for corruption. The chance for intense scrutiny and public accountability has gone. It will be boreholes a-go-go (no doubt keeping the fracking industry quite happy as well), while they look for a good place to dump their responsibility to the next generation and beyond.
Of course, they may have already found the spot they want in Cumbria and this legislation will allow them to claim it. The party at NuGen et al., and all the weapons manufacturers must be in full swing this evening, they now have carte blanche to generate as much waste as they please. Apparently there will be a ‘positive test of community support’ before a GDF is built. We are still waiting to hear what this will be. I’ve tweeted Amber Rudd (@AmberRuddMP) and Baroness Verma (@DECCgovuk) about it but haven’t heard back. Perhaps you will have better luck than me? Nearly 40,000 people expressed their distaste at government’s plans to frack under their homes without their permission, and were soundly ignored. What chance do you think your community has of being genuinely represented in this ‘positive test’?
Other government departments have in the past defined ‘community’ as potentially a single landowner (UKOOG). Let’s face it there’s always one morally defunct ne’er do well who would sell their own granny for a buck! Trying to keep up with the sublimely ridiculously parliamentary procedures has been exhausting. Delegated legislation, affirmative instruments, motions to consider, withdraw, statutory instrument committees, deferred divisions..bla bla bla. NOWHERE in this process were our elected MPs given the chance to debate this crucial issue. It’s only the safety of your drinking water being decided in small committee rooms, as under the radar as humanly possible, by committee members appointed by party whips. Democracy isn’t on its knees, its face down in the mud. There are a few good guys in this sorry tale. We were lucky to have Duncan Hames on the initial committee to speak up against the order. Then a few MPs were there to say ‘nay’ when they tried to secure approval whilst everyone was distracted by budget day. This meant that a vote was forced for the following week, which we lost 277-33. Silver linings though, 33 MPs said no potentially incurring the wrath of the party whip and the industry. So good on them! Considering only 53 voted for the fracking moratorium and the weight behind that campaign, that’s not a terrible show. We salute these brave people who are sticking to their principles and focusing on protecting their constituents rather than climbing the greasy pole. Tim Farron has been a vocal opponent of the order, but he was not present for the vote. Strangely, Jamie Reed MP for Copeland and former Sellafield PR man voted against the order. We didn’t see that one coming!
277 turned up to vote aye. Imagine how much wining and dining went on there. We could just about stretch to a pasty from Greggs!
In the final moments of the conservative/lib dem coalition they have ensured their nuclear dump legacy will continue into the next government, whoever that will be. There are some lib dem good guys out there, but during my research into mps to lobby I was disheartened to see how many had done a U turn on their opinions on nuclear power after coming to government. Perhaps they have bought into the ‘green nuclear’ fallacy, or perhaps they are towing the party line. There is cross party support on this issue that is widely reviled by normal folk when they hear about it, and now those people don’t even have their local councillors to fall back on.
Awareness of this legislation was extremely low. Only 719 responded to the consultation, 530 of them individuals or societies. Again, compare this to the fracking consultation mentioned previously that garnered 40,000 responses. Surely there should have been a similar awareness raising campaign for radioactive waste facilities? Why wasn’t David Cameron telling us he was ‘all out for nuke dumping’? Perhaps because he didn’t want you to notice? We’ve lost this battle, but we will win the war.
We may not have a legislative system on our side or a corporate bank roll, but we do have common sense and people power. We will not take this lying down.
Tim Farron MP who is known to be opposed to geological dumping of radioactive wastes under Cumbria was not there – while Jamie Reed MP for Copeland and former Sellafield PR man was there ….and he voted to stop the plan
Today Her Majesty’s government quietly removed the power of local and county councils to say no to burial of existing and future nuclear wastes beneath their homes.
The predetermined decision to “Implement Geological Disposal” now lies with the Secretary of State under Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. This vicious NSIP ruling overrides any considerations on the land such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, heritage or conservation areas.
Using the most undemocratic tool of “delegated legislation” this decision has been forced through, not by open debate but by Committee Room decisions.
The separation of radioactive wastes from the biosphere is the most important requirement for the long term continuation of life, never mind in Cumbria but on the planet. To pretend otherwise is the stock in trade of PR men and those with a nasty vicious agenda dressed up in pseudo environmentalism.
In the last gasp of Parliament before the election, MPs voted 217 to 33 to Dump democracy along with heat generating nuclear wastes.
This should be the catalyst for a revolution to Ban Nuclear.
ALL MPs whether pro or anti nuclear should be interested in keeping the established planning powers of their local authorities.
Please ask, tweet, email, ring your MP to FIND THE PINK SLIP IN THEIR VOTING BUNDLE AND VOTE NO Wednesday 25th 2015. 2.30pm . There’s no debate and it is assumed MPs AGREE with passing this planning power for a dump to the Secretary unless they go and use their pink voting slip which means NO.
Letter: We Need toTalk About Moorside and Radioactive Wastes
20th March 2015
I attended the ‘Public Talk’ at the Skiddaw Hotel on 11th March, not that I would have known about it if I hadn’t read about it in your Letters column, via Rod and Jill Donnington-Smith.
It was quite a large gathering, sponsored by Radiation Free Lakeland. I was encouraged to see there was quite a ground-swell of protest against the Geological Disposal Facilities (GDFs) and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). I have to confess though that I remain mystified by the whole question of Nuclear Energy, in spite of the disturbing read about the House of Lords having debated the issue, plus Martin Pugmire’s contribution regarding the RWM Meeting in Manchester and previous meetings organised by the Cumbria Trust.
However, the two main Speakers, Dr Ian Fairlie and Arnie Gundersen, put forward some very disturbing facts that should support our community in Cumbria being wary of contemplating the radio-active substances on its doorstop. I’d previously been led to believe that the radiation level was minimal – even when accidents did occur – but hearing the data on child leukaemia and how vulnerable the Japanese were, after the tsunami hit their nuclear plant, I don’t think anyone should be complacent burying nuclear waste anywhere.
We were informed there was so much secrecy surrounding the whole issue of nuclear energy (both from within industry and government) and that it might be a good idea to take a leaf out of Germany’s example and concentrate our efforts on establishing renewable energy from the sun, the wind and the waves, after all these sources would be much cleaner and safer and perhaps in the long run, much cheaper.
During the event I was sitting next to a young man and asked him what he had thought of the meeting. After all it will be for his generation to sort out the ‘mess’ my generation has made of our dealings with each other. Having polluted the planet to such a degree that will probably leave future generations without safe food to to eat and safe water to drink.
A plea was made by ‘Friends of the Earth’ for everyone to consider how they voted at the coming elections. But which political party has the courage to decide about nuclear energy (assuming they have the correct information to go on)? No party seems all that willing to ‘regulate’ (or change) the economic system which is currently allowing so much corruption and is responsible for so much ‘inequality’ in our society. Is it because there is too much influence from ‘vested interests’ within industry preventing them seeing the moral issues involved? It will be interesting to read what your readers think.
Radiation Free Lakeland and others are asking: Just whose idea was it to
plan to scrap democracy in order to dump nuclear wastes? Was the bright
idea given to Government by the PR firm Copper Consulting?
Copper Consultancy a PR firm with offices in London, Bristol, Suffolk and
most recently Cumbria, told the Department of Energy and Climate Change
that: “allowing local authorities to determine the outcome of a process
which is designed to deliver a national Government policy may not be the most appropriate route.” This piece of work is a response to Cumbria County Council and the majority of Parish Councils’ saying no to geological disposal of nuclear wastes.
In their blog Copper Consulting go on to say that: “local authorities are
consultees rather than decision makers. The final decision rests with the
Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State. A logical conclusion
might therefore be to classify the GDF as an NSIP”
There has always been a suspicion that nuclear is a PR strategy rather than an energy strategy, now we have proof. There is a revolving door between the NDA and Copper Consultancy a PR firm. Ivan Stone who was Executive Director of Copper Consultancy is now the Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Director – of the NDA/RWM (Radioactive Waste Management – a new arm of NDA) Copper Consultancy have also just been awarded the PR job of selling newnuclear build and new nuclear wastes at Moorside to the public.
This is what lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell say about the plan: “Of course
this isn’t a random extension to the regime, the government has in mind
of one such facility, likely to be in Cumbria.”
Having passed through the House of Lords despite strong opposition which is almost unprecedented for a back room, ‘go through on the nod’ Legal Order, this PR strategy is being turned into awful reality.
Lord Roger Liddle (former special advisor to Tony Blair) said: “As a
democrat and a Cumbria citizen, I cannot support the new
current proposal that the final decision be taken out of Cumbria’s hands
and left to the Secretary of State. In reality, there is no willingness to
engage seriously with the whole local community. Instead, there is only a
determination that in the last resort, the Secretary of State will be able
to do whatever he decides. This is a travesty.”
Campaigners from Radiation Free Lakeland, No Nuke Dumping and others
lobbied MPs within a very short space of a few days to oppose The Order
which was to be passed through the House of Commons as ‘Delegated
Legislation.’ This means that there is a presumption to pass the Order
uncontested in a back room by Parliamentary Committee. Following the
Committee Meeting, in a tweet on the 18th March to campaigners Duncan
Hames MP said “A select group of independently minded Lib Dem and Labour
MPs have objected. This will now be voted on next Wednesday.” This of
course gives no time at all to draw attention to this in the press or
mount a campaign. Local campaigners have few resources or visible help
from mainstream NGOs on what is the most corrupt and frightening betrayal
by government over its dealings with a predermined agenda to “Implement
Geological Disposal.” Cumbria is in the frame despite protestations that
this is a “National” exercise. Only a limited test of “public support”
would be exercised despite protestations by Baroness Verma that this is
“participatory.” Planning consent would be a fig leaf and have no relation
to the kind of scrutiny brought to bear in the Nirex planning inquiry back
in the 1990s in the halcyon days when all the government wanted to bury
was intermediate level wastes. Now the plan is to include the dumping of
high level, heat generating wastes…..along with the dumping of democracy.
Opposition to the Legal Order to make geological disposal a Nationally
Significant Infrastructure Project means that a vote has been forced.
Thevote will take place in Parliament on Wednesday 25th March.
“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” Hubert H. Humphrey  US Atomic Veterans Administration brochure (2012)
Victims of British Nuclear Tests have fought for decades for some recognition of their illnesses, along with some financial compensation. The UK government has now offered money to be shared with all aging veterans. Why do veterans, especially the elderly ones, have to get the run around? The US also viciously gives the run around to elderly atomic veterans who have the wrong type of cancer. Why are they so mean-spirited? Just give the veterans their damn money! They were drafted and/or trying to serve their country. The UK and the US waste tons of…
Many thanks to everyone who came along to our meeting today with Tim Farron MP. We urged our MP to do everything within his power to ensure our democratic rights are not dumped along with radioactive wastes. We asked Tim Farron to ensure that geological dumping of nuclear wastes is not made a Nationally Significantly Infrastructure Project when Parliament votes on this next wednesday 25th
Tim Farron was surprised to see that Copper Consultancy were instrumental in advising government on the devious plan to make nuclear dumping NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project)..they have just been appointed as PR managers for Moorside (where boreholes up to 150m are being drilled)
In Copper Consultancy’s response to the DECC consultation on radioactive waste management in 2013 they said that “allowing local authorities to determine the outcome of a process which is designed to deliver a national Government policy may not be the most appropriate route”
Copper Consulting go on to say : “local authorities are consultees rather than decision makers. The final decision rests with the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State. A logical conclusion might therefore be to classify the GDF as an NSIP”
As well as the plan to dump democracy a new and PR improved fig leaf of “Stakeholder” engagement is underway with the newly formed RWM (ironically named “Radioactive Waste Management”) – the grandson of NIREX, son of MRWS. There is only one aim and that is to deliver a geological disposal facility.
We urge people to go along not as “stakeholders” in this process to “implement geological disposal” but to go along as Stakeholders in Our Land, Our Air, Our Water and to oppose the diabolic plan. The first meeting was in Manchester yesterday where we have heard that RWM got some serious stick… “Their only up and running ‘safety case’ for wanting geological disposal is WIPP in Carlsbad – where fire broke out and caused a huge radioactive release into the atmosphere and the ceiling collapsed.” The next meetings are in London (25th March) and Bristol (26th) . Strangely none in Cumbria!!
Please email your MP …..BEFORE WEDNESDAY 25th to say
NO to NSIP for Geological Dumping of Nuclear Wastes.
Even a short email would be great sent before Wednesday 25th. Feel free to use the letter below for inspiration.
Please safeguard our right to say no to the geological disposal of nuclear wastes. Please vote NO on Wednesday the 25th to the Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015, which extends the categories of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (‘NSIPs’) contained in the Planning Act 2008 to geological disposal facilities to store radioactive nuclear waste.
This NSIP extension would remove the last hurdle to “implementing geological disposal” i.e. it would remove the democratic right of the public to say no. This is what lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell say about the plan to make geological dumping of nuclear wastes NSIP: “Of course this isn’t a random extension to the regime, the government has in mind the creation of one such facility, likely to be in Cumbria. It tried before but in January 2013 the project was vetoed by Cumbria County Council. It’s trying again and for obvious reasons has removed the ability for a county council to veto the process. Even if there is only one site that gets to the stage of a borehole, there should be at least two NSIPs – one for the borehole (and possibly more) and then one for the facility itself”.
Under NSIP there would be no Planning Inquiry to scrutinise the plan. Eminent geologists and the Inspector of the 1995-6 Nirex Planning Inquiry looked at the disposal of intermediate nuclear wastes in Cumbria and concluded that the geology is too complex. Given that the geology is known to be unsound in Cumbria for burial of Intermediate nuclear wastes and that the Radioactive Waste Management process now includes heat-generating High Level Wastes & spent fuel, the plan to dump democracy is frightening.
NOW WE HAVE TILL WEDNESDAY 25th MARCH TO LOBBY COUNCILLORS- MPS – ALERT THE PRESS, CONSERVATION GROUPS, NGOS
– ASK why the wall of silence?-
MANY THANKS to everyone who emailed, tweeted and rang their MPs at such short notice. The Order was about to be passed through as “delegated legislation” this means that there is a presumption to pass the Order uncontested in a back room by Parliamentary Committee. The lobbying action by Radiation Free Lakeland and No Nuke Dumping has helped ensure that “a select group of independently minded Lib Dem and Labour MPs have objected” to the Order to class a Geological Disposal Facility as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. As some MPs said “nay” (remember this is almost unprecedented) a VOTE HAS BEEN TRIGGERED IN THE COMMONS NEXT WEDNESDAY 25th MARCH 2015.
MANY THANKS TO THOSE MPS WHO STOOD UP AND SAID “NAY”
Now we have just a week to warn our locally elected Councillors that their Democratic Planning Authority regarding the dumping of radioactive waste is about to be stolen away with no fanfare or fuss. Please lobby MPs, NGOs, Conservation Groups, The Press and anyone else you can think of. Write letters to the press – do something!
This is deliberately shifting sand that even the lawyers are unsure of. But what we do know is that government is trying to quietly push law that will ensure the hard won local planning protections (Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Conservation Areas etc) and our democratic mandate cannot be used to reject geological dumping of nuclear wastes. At the same time the government is claiming that the “implementation of geological disposal” will be participatory with a “test of public support.” We have already had some experience of how government has manipulated data to pretend support for geological dumping and expect this “test” will be more of the same.
We know that all the “Radioactive Waste Management” roads lead to new-build justification and the production of more wastes.
This is what the local government lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell say about the plan:
“Of course this isn’t a random extension to the regime, the government has in mind the creation of one such facility, likely to be in Cumbria. It tried before but in January 2013 the project was vetoed by Cumbria County Council. It’s trying again and for obvious reasons has removed the ability for a county council to veto the process, and the process is also much more measured and supported with technical information.
Even if there is only one site that gets to the stage of a borehole, there should be at least two NSIPs – one for the borehole (and possibly more) and then one for the facility itself.