Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste to be Shipped from the South Lakes This Weekend

Pacific Egret & Pacific Heron @Barrow Docks 11.9.15

High Level Nuclear Waste shipment September 12th 2015
High Level Nuclear Waste shipment September 12th 2015

This weekend has been chosen as the date to ship and truck Highly Radioactive Nuclear Wastes from Barrow in Furness in Cumbria  to Switzerland.  It certainly is a good weekend to bury bad news what with Jeremy Corbyn election fever gripping the country.

I went to Barrow today to stage a one woman protest, no time to marshal a larger protest today,  but I felt that this obscenity of high level nuclear waste being shipped across the sea and then trucked through towns and villages, should be marked somehow by someone.  The bemused Barrow fishermen I spoke to had no idea that High Level Nuclear Waste was about to be shipped to Switzerland and one commented “better there than here”  that is one way of looking at it but radioactive wastes are arriving here in Cumbria daily.  Each of the vitrified glass blocks on board the ships is a result of reprocessing of spent fuel  – dumping wastes out to sea and air.  The resulting highly radioactive liquid is vitrified into glass blocks. This glass is not the kind of glass that George “I love nuclear” Monbiot could wear in his specs, the waste is so deadly that a person within one metre of a single unshielded glass block would receive a fatal dose of radiation in less than one minute.

The excellent blogger Mining Awareness has translated From Réseau “Sortir du nucléaire” (unofficial translation, our own):…
A train of Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste is preparing to cross France!
Press Release of 11 September 2015

As a convoy of Swiss radioactive waste is preparing to cross France from west to east, the network “Sortir du nucléaire” alerts everyone about the risks of these transports and calls for a nuclear exit.

Swiss nuclear waste in transit via France

According to our information, Swiss radioactive waste, stored at Sellafield reprocessing facility (UK) will return to its country of origin next week by passing through France.

The load of nuclear waste should leave England [Barrow-in-Furness] on Sunday and arrive at the port of Cherbourg on Monday, 14 September, then travel [by truck] to the railroad terminal of Valognes (English Channel) [Railway station of La Hague] where it will leave on Wednesday, the 16th, around 3 in the morning, in the direction of Basel. This convoy will have three wagons.

[It will then go to Zwilag in Würenlingen Switzerland. The original shipment to Sellafield was made through the now closed nuclear harbour of Dunkirk in the 1980s or 90s.]

If the train uses the same itinerary as similar convoys, it could pass by Caen, Rouen, Amiens, Reims, Strasbourg and Colmar and arrive in Basel on Wednesday, at the end of the evening. (see the schedule and stages of a previous convoy of Swiss radioactive waste that crossed France in March 2011. http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Train-de-dechets-radioactifs)

A Transport of High Risks Kept Secret

This new “CASTOR train” contains substances of the same level of danger as those transported by the convoys that circulated between France and Germany in November of 2010 and 2011. http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Transport-La-Hague-Gorleben,246 It involves the most highly radioactive waste, which comes from the “reprocessing” of nuclear fuel (an activity which pollutes and is useless, as well as having been abandoned by numerous countries). The “Sortir du nucléaire” Network, which has sent several requests for information about the radioactive inventory of the convoy, calls for the radiation measurements, which will be effectuated at its departure, to be rendered public: on earlier transports containing the same material, one could detect radiation from the containers several tens of meters away[1]!

Such convoys are subject to very lax legislation, with extremely elevated regulatory levels [of radiation exposure], which are in contradiction with the basic principles of protection of populations. [2] This thus represents a real risk of irradiation for the railroad workers and the police which accompany it. Additionally, it could possibly cross train stations of densely populated areas at times when they are very crowded[3], showing contempt for the safety of travelers.

Despite the danger of this convoy, no information has been furnished to the elected officials of the communes which will be crossed. In case of an accident, how could they properly manage the situation? Nonetheless, derailments of radioactive convoys have already occurred in the last few years, the last having taken place at Drancy in December of 2013! http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/article31315

Facing the risks of these transports, the European nuclear exit is urgent!

The peregrinations of these nuclear wastes between Great Britain, France and Switzerland illustrates the absurdity of the globalized and high risk nuclear industry, the operation of which imposes the circulation of dangerous radioactive materials throughout all of Europe. A nuclear exit at a European level is urgent in order to stop the production of this unmanageable radioactive waste and to protect citizens. Just as France should close its aging reactors, Switzerland, which has the oldest reactor in the world still in operation, should stop its reactors!

The Network “Sortir du nucléaire” will strive to follow the convoy (http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Transport-de-dechets-vitrifies-Sellafield information soon on the page) and calls to organize watches along the journey to denounce the risks of these transports. Philippe Guiter, spokesman for the Network “Sortir du nucléaire”, will be present for a press conference to be held on Monday, September 14th at 19h (7 pm) at the Port of Cherbourg [France] (in front of the exit gate of the industrial area terre-plein des Mielles).
Download letters to authorities:
Mail to the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN): http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/IMG/pdf/courrier_asn_.pdf
Mail to the Institute of Radio-protection and of Nuclear Safety (IRSN): http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/IMG/pdf/courrier_irsn.pdf
Mail to the High Official of Defense and of Security of the Ministry of Ecology:
Courrier au transporteur TNI :
Mail to the TNI transporter
Contact :
Philippe Guiter : 06 77 35 53 03
Communications Officer: 06 64 66 01 23


[1] During a similar transport between France and Germany effectuated in November 2011, the radioactivity at 14 metres from the convoy exceeded by several hundreds of times the “normal” level. http://www.zeit.de/wissen/umwelt/2010-11/Castor-Transport-Strahlenbelastung

[2] As CRIIRAD notes in an email sent in May 2012 to the European Commission, “at these levels of irradiation, a person discussing for half an hour leaning against a transport vehicle would reach, without surpassing, the regulatory limit of 2 mSv/h, receiving a dose of 1 mSv, that is, in 30 minutes the maximum ANNUAL limit fixed for public exposure for all nuclear activities. Ten minutes of time in its presence would suffice to surpass the limit of 0.3 mSv/year defined for the impact of a single nuclear activity” http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/IMG/pdf/criirad_3-1-2.pdf

[3] This was the case in November 2010, when a convoy of highly radioactive German waste crossed the Strasbourg train station on a Saturday around 13 h (1 pm in the afternoon).” French original is found here: http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Un-train-de-dechets-suisses-hautement-radioactifs (Photo at original)

The information in brackets about location comes from Jean-Yvon Landrac of StopNuclearPower via a mail forwarded to us, and is not found in the original press release.

Additional notes, which are not in Sortir du Nucleaire original, but based on the article at the link for Note 1: “Wie stark strahlt der Castor?” by Sami Skalli, 8. November 2010, “Zeit” online edition, says that at Dannenberg, 14 meters from the Castor containers, neutron radiation was 480 times higher than background. The gamma was 2.3 microsieverts per hour, which they say is 40 times higher than usual [for that area, in some places this may be only around 18 times background, though this is not mentioned in the article] These are within permissible limits according to the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection. Permissible levels for gamma with Castor are 100 microsieverts per hour at two meters from the delivery vehicle. (100 microsieverts per hour gamma is 0.1 millisieverts per hour, compared to US EPA recommendation of 0.25 PER YEAR.)

“Neutron radiation protection relies on radiation shielding. Due to the high kinetic energy of neutrons, this radiation is considered to be the most severe and dangerous radiation to the whole body when it is exposed to external radiation sources” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_radiation#Health_hazards_and_protection ]

On page 2 of the CRIIRAD letter, in a footnote, it states that the dose could sometimes even be 10 mSv/h when in contact with the transport vehicle. http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/IMG/pdf/criirad_3-1-2.pdf


“Basel 1356 intensity “Seismic Hazard Assessment of Switzerland, 2004”, November 2004 Swiss Seismological Service”

Note that even though Beznau in Switzerland is called the oldest, there seems to be an even older one still in operation in India.

Contrary to popular belief, Switzerland has not yet exited nuclear power, but is keeping its aging reactors going. The topic is reportedly up for grabs at the current parliamentary session. A recent survey has shown, that with the exception of voters adhering to the right wing people’s party (SVP-UDC), most Swiss are against nuclear. http://www.rts.ch/la-

4 thoughts on “Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste to be Shipped from the South Lakes This Weekend

    1. I would prefer it not to be mined from far off countries, enriched, made into fuel rods, burnt in reactors, sent to Sellafield, reprocessed with waste dumped into the sea, waste dumped in landfill, waste traipsed around the world on sea, rail and roads.

  1. Andrew Kidd

    Well done; cracking piece.

    Thank you, as always.


    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    From:”Radiation Free Lakeland” Date:Fri, 11 Sep, 2015 at 18:48 Subject:[New post] Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste Shipped from the South Lakes

    mariannewildart posted: ” This weekend has been chosen as the date to ship and truck Highly Radioactive Nuclear Wastes from Barrow in Furnessm Cumbria  to Switzerland.  It certainly is a good weekend to bury bad news what with Jeremy Corbyn election fever gripping the coun”

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