Not Fit for Purpose – The UK’s Low Level Radioactive Waste Strategy

Radioactive Landfill Dumped in Cumbria from Scotland
Radioactive Landfill Dumped in Cumbria from Scotland and elsewhere

Sent today to the UK Consultation of Low Level Radioactive Waste Strategy.

The CONsultation  on dispersal of wastes to the environment can be emailed here:    by 21st April.  Send your opposition to dispersal of radioactive wastes and call for a moratorium on the dodgy concept of Decommissioning which has come to mean Dispersal.

Nuclear Free Local Authorities have sent an excellent reply 

Radiation Free Lakeland’s reply and Call for a Moratorium on the whole concept of decommissioning/dispersal is below:


UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Waste from the Nuclear Industry

RADIATION FREE LAKELAND is a volunteer nuclear safety group based in Cumbria, with supporters worldwide. We oppose new nuclear build and the dispersal of existing and new radioactive wastes to the environment.

The purpose of this Consultation is

“intended to ensure that the strategy remains fit for purpose, reflecting significant changes in the nuclear industry and developments in the UK environment for the management of LLW to keep the strategy fit for purpose”.

Fit for Purpose?

  1. If “fit for purpose” means deregulating radioactive wastes in order to disperse them to the environment and clear the decks for new build, then Yes the strategy is “fit for purpose”.
  1. If “fit for purpose” means ensuring that radioactive wastes are contained and that the public are not exposed to ever increasing releases of radiation from polluted groundwater, air and consumer goods then No the strategy is not “fit for purpose.”

Cumbria is bearing the brunt of the nuclear industry and government ambition to clear the decks of nuclear wastes in preparation for more. Examples of deregulation include:


Radioactive Landfill: High Volume Very Low Level radioactive wastes have been deregulated to be reclassified as “exempt.” This led to Sellafield dumping 3 bags of low level and one bag of intermediate level in a Cumbrian landfill under the “free release” system. Lillyhall landfill was previously free of high volumes of man made nuclear wastes (previously licensed for small volumes of NORM) Sellafield was fined but the company responsible for allowing low and intermediate waste dumping has not been prosecuted as “they were not aware’. The same company, Energy Solutions is responsible for the “kitty litter” fiasco in the only operational high level nuclear waste ‘facility’ in the world – WIPP

Click to access DOE-IG-0922.pdf

Radioactive Scrap Metal – tonnes of it released onto the open market in the only radioactive scrap metal “recycling” plant in Europe.

The operators Studsvik say : “Studsvik is working to the Government’s own nuclear waste hierarchy which aims to reduce the amount of scrap material going to the repository (DRIGG) , prolonging its life expectancy”.

Novel radioactive routes have been opened. Potentially radioactive metals are being dispersed to consumer goods, from tins of beans to children’s’ toys.

Regarding the escalating dispersal of radioactive wastes to the environment the Nuclear Free Local Authorities have responded: “Low-level waste management in the UK is in crisis. The total quantity of low level radioactive waste existing, or forecast to be created, is greater than the total amount of existing disposal capacity. The construction and operation of new nuclear power stations will only make matters worse – one of the reasons why NFLA opposes new nuclear build. The existing low level waste dump near Sellafield is virtually certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste at some point over the next few hundred years. The industry is managing to hide this crisis for the time being by dispersing radioactive waste around the country. Spreading around the UK radioactive waste previously destined to be disposed of in the engineered facility near Sellafield, is liable to increase the UK population‟s collective dose and therefore increase the risk of cancer and other health problems. Despite the volumes of LLW likely to arise and the future problems of coastal erosion at the existing dump near Sellafield, the Low Level Waste Repository Ltd (LLWR Ltd) hopes to eliminate the need for a second national repository and close the existing repository in 2079 by developing new routes for different types of LLW, to enable them to be diverted from the LLWR”.

Radiation Free Lakeland say that the UK Strategy for the Management of Solid Low Level Waste from the Nuclear Industry is not only:

NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE but is OUT OF CONROL in the same way that the banking sector was out of control in the heady days of deregulation before the crash.

Radiation Free Lakeland believe the crash is already happening with increasing evidence of a spectrum of radiation linked diseases. While the industry runs a Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases for nuclear workers, increasingly the radiation is being dispersed to the wider environment where the risk is socialised. Meanwhile private companies chase lucrative government contracts to handle dispersal to the environment. Private profit, public risk is lent greenwash by for example the Low Level Waste Conference being held at the Rheged Centre in Penrith.


Radiation Free Lakeland call on the UK government for a moratorium on Decommissioning. The evidence shows that decommissioning merely means the dispersal of radioactive wastes to the environment through a “dilute and disperse” agenda. This is unsustainable.

Sent on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland by Marianne Birkby

6 thoughts on “Not Fit for Purpose – The UK’s Low Level Radioactive Waste Strategy

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