Radioactive Beached Art at St Bees: Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

Don't Worry, Be Happy! Radioactive Particles at St Bees
Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Radioactive Particles at St Bees
Razor Shells St Bees
Razor Shells St Bees
0.09 microsieverts "safe radiation dose" Exposure within 50 miles of  nuclear power plant
0.09 microsieverts “safe radiation dose” Exposure within 50 miles of nuclear power plant

On Friday, the day before our protest sand drawing at St Bees I rang up Sellafield to let them know that after the demo we would be dropping off our soiled gloves and protective clothing at the Main Gate as potential radioactive waste. I got through to a lass in Workington who put me through to security ….it just rang out.

No option to leave a message.  I wanted to let them know about our plan, as some of the young armed police on the Main Gate look habitually nervous and we didn’t want to approach them with a bin bag full of clothing unannounced.    I rang back and the lass from Workington put me through to the Main Gate, this was at 3pm …..I let it ring for 5 minutes before giving up.   A corner shop would do better than this!

Then I emailed one of the many Sellafield Media team, who rang back almost immediately.  The media man told me that : “Sellafield is a licensed site which does not accept unsolicited waste, they will not accept a bag of waste dumped outside the Main Gate” But “if you want reassurance monitoring then ring Sellafield to arrange this with the appropriate authorities”


We don’t want radioactive waste dumped into the Irish Sea, and our landfill, our pots and pans, even our DNA.

Never mind the “reassurance monitoring” how about the truth?

The dosimeter we have was kindly donated by supporters.  It does not however tell the whole picture as it measures only beta and gamma but not alpha.   Even so the monitor is quite a few notches up from the manufacturers advice : SAFE  Radiation Dose: 0.09 microsieverts within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant (Sellafield is of course an even more insidious reprocessing plant)

Steer Clear of Beach.  News & Star Star 8.8.15
Steer Clear of Beach.
News & Star Star 8.8.15

The News & Star report….

News and Star Saturday August 8th 2015

Protestors tell families steer clear of the beach

Event organisers reject nuclear campaigners’ radiation fears

By Jenny Barwise

PARENTS are being warned to keep their children away from a sand sculpting event at a west Cumbrian beach, for fears of youngsters picking up radioactive particles.

But event organisers Cumbria Wildlife Trust and health experts are reassuring those taking park they are not putting themselves at risk.


St Bees hosts the annual beached art event today, but anti-nuclear campaigner group Radiation Free Lakeland is urging families to stay clear, claiming the sand has dangerous levels of radiation caused by nearby Sellafield.

Campaigners will be at the beach during today’s event handing out leaflets to participants warning them of the “dangers.”

Marianne Birkby of the group said : “Even if Sellafield stopped dumping radioactive waste tomorrow and the Moorside plan was scrapped, it would still be irresponsible of Cumbria Wildlife Trust to encourage young children to dig for hours on this beach.

“St Bees Head acts as a natural catchment for Sellafield’s toxic brew. Yes it is a beautiful beach, but of all the perils lurking at the seaside none is as sinister as the invisible peril of radioactive pollution.

“The authorities say that the risk is low compared to other risks beach users accept – this is true in that a child digging on the beach may not encounter and ingest an alpha particle. Obviously the longer spent on the beach, the more chance of encountering and ingesting radioactive particles from which the deadly harm may not materialise until years later.”

Mrs Birkby has also written a letter to Public Health England about the situation, asking if it can guarantee the safety of those taking part.

However, Dr Jill Meara acting director of Public Health England’s centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards told the News & Star : “PHE’s advice is that the overall health risks from radioactive particles for beach users are very low, and significantly lower than other risks that people accept when using the beaches.

“No special precautionary actions are required to limit access to or use of beaches.”

The pressure group will also be sand-drawing with pebbles to highlight their concerns, as well as placing warning signs in the beach area.

The event organised by Cumbria Wildlife Trust takes place between midday and 2pm. Bex Lynam, the trust’s marine training programme manager said: “St Bees has a fantastic beach and headland and is brilliant for watching wildlife such as dolphins, whales and birds such as puffins.

“Cumbria Widlife Trust has received no information from the local authority that the beach is unsafe to use and as long as it remains open to the public we will continue to hold events here such as our Beached Art event.”

4 thoughts on “Radioactive Beached Art at St Bees: Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

  1. Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s trust in the local Authority is misplaced. While many Copeland councillors are genuine in their approach to safety , the small handful of leaders who take “executive ” decisions are not likely to raise concerns about the accumulating radioactive particle finds on the beach. All the evidence so far shows Copeland leaders prefer to protect the nuclear industry rather than their constituents or the wider population.

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Today Cumbria Wildlife Trust has invited families to dig for hours on the beach at St Bees making sand sculptures. We have asked them again this year to warn people about the radioactive particles found on this beach…they said “the last particle has been removed”. This is nonsense the tide comes in twice a day with more radioactive wastes from Sellafield. This was our protest back in 2015.

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