Letter: Stop Moorside – Save Europe

Black smoke billows from blaze in Haverigg – Photo North West Evening Mail


Letter in last week’s Whitehaven News and this week’s Westmorland Gazette


Last Saturday while I was out for a walk on Latter Rig, there was a plume of thick black smoke curling round the Duddon Estuary from the west coast.

The first stomache plummeting thought was ‘something’s happened at Sellafield’.  The fire turned out to have been at  a garage in Haverigg. people were told to stay indoors and the nearby holiday park was evacuated.

The fire needed 8 engines from across the region to bring it under control.  This got me thinking about the risks at Sellafield. Even without the Moorside plan going ahead there are multiple risks ranging from a large gas plant and gas pipeline on the site, to large amounts of heat generating liquid radioactive wastes, nitric and sulphuric acids.  A release during a fire of just one percent of the Highly Active Liquid wastes resulting from reprocessing would be devastating to our European neighbours.

Norway has repeatedly told the UK nuclear industry this, which has so far fallen on deaf ears as one of the industry’s stanchest friends, Jamie Reed is promoting new build and ever more nuclear waste.  Even without Moorside going ahead the questions must be asked.

Is Sellafield prepared for a multiple emergency?  Are there enough fire crews in Cumbria? Is there enough cooling water in Cumbria?  Is there enough fossil fuel in Cumbria?  These are just a few of the questions, the answer to which I think we already suspect.

Whatever way people voted in the referendum perhaps in the end the only real way in which we can show our love for our fellow Europeans is to keeep Sellafield safe and that means maintaining a buffer zone around the site and most especially, ditching the plan for Moorside.  There is a petition already signed by 10,200 people and campaign which can be found by searching Stop Moorside.

yours sincerely,


Marianne Birkby

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