Offshore Geological Disposal

This Article from Cumbria Trust misses a trick. . Geological “Disposal” of nuclear waste is impossible…it cannot be “disposed” of and to suggest otherwise is to give the industry a green light to continue polluting. The ship needs to have sailed on deep drilling and mining in Cumbria…the risk of earthquakes in the Sellafield area from such activity is just too risky.

Cumbria Trust

The last failed search process, Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) restricted the search area to the volunteer boroughs and a 5km offshore strip for coastal areas. As we know, only Copeland and Allerdale volunteered and the process was vetoed by Cumbria County Council which recognised the overwhelming local opposition to the proposal amongst a long list of concerns.

A great deal is known about Cumbria’s geology from previous failed attempts, including the £400m Nirex spent before reaching the conclusion that the geology was so complex that they couldn’t even model groundwater flow between two boreholes just 200 metres apart. The Nirex Inquiry Inspector Chris McDonald concluded that the search process should move away from Cumbria to an area of simple geology, largely found in eastern and southern England. More recent attempts by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to mislead the public by suggesting that Nirex could have found Cumbria to be…

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One thought on “Offshore Geological Disposal

  1. An offshore tunnel from Sellafield under the Irish Sea is just a paper fantasy world.
    Offshore coal and thus methane near Sellafield. Map shows that offshore it goes as a diagonal south of Sellafield to Seascale —To the north it goes to Seacroft farm on the Solway firth.

    Furthermore, anything under water is going to require even more pumping to keep water out. No one talks about that. All underground infrastructure requires pumping, drainage, fans, depending on the water entry and humidity level. The Chunnel must be pumped for instance. This is one of the reasons that storage can never be shut and must be monitored and pumped. And, the waste containers must be changed before they leak. The more wet, the more corrosion. Sweden’s underwater repository has had terrible problems with dripping water and corrosion even though it’s not sealed. A facility should be hard-rock like granite so it can be kept open with less problems of collapse. The main problem with the US Yucca mountain is that the rock – I think it’s a volcanic tuft – has pores which hold water and if it’s ever sealed then the humidity jumps to 100% even though it’s in an arid climate. Nonetheless, it’s far superior than WIPP which was designed to collapse and actively leaks water. Because of the risk of air attacks the waste seems to need to be deep underground but forever monitored in a hard-rock facility.

    The (explosive) methane is known as “firedamp” and leaks from the face of the mine and carbon monoxide, called “afterdamp” killed canaries and men. This is the part that I found most memorable: “Clogs were not allowed because the nails might strike sparks and ignite the firedamp (chocolate biscuits wrapped in foil were not allowed either) …” That’s just how flammable the methane is and the radioactive waste is kept in metal drums. The author of the article in Solway shore stories (Ann Lingard) adds that the “Solway still hides a rich store of coal… hundreds of millions of tons remain, up to 10 miles offshore and for two miles each side of Haig’s main roadway, enough coal to produce “1 million tons per year for 800 years.” The author (Ann Lingard) also talks about “the sheer scale of the collieries, the quite extraordinary size and interconnectedness of the three-dimensional maze of tunnels beneath the sea, the sea that is just out there beneath the cliffs.”

    It’s rather surprising that Cumbria Trust is unfamiliar with the coal mining in the area!

    On a related note, the head of NERC’s ties to the nuclear industry and Lockheed Martin: “Born in 1938, Sir Anthony attended Berkhamsted School and, after National Service, went up to Trinity College, Oxford in 1958 as an Open Scholar. He graduated in 1962 in Literae Humaniores…. Sir Anthony became Chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in 1993. In 1996 he led the privatisation and subsequent flotation of UKAEA’s commercial activities, becoming Chairman of AEA Technology plc- a position he held until the end of 2001. He is currently Chairman of Novia Financial Plc and the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership.
    He was Chairman of IX Europe plc, SThree plc and Working Links (Employment) Limited and was a Director of the Links Foundation. He was founding Chairman of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority from July 2004-July 2007, Chairman of the Medical Research Council from October 1998 until July 2006, and has been Chairman of Engineering UK, UK eUniversities Worldwide Limited, General Cable plc and The Strategic Partnership Limited, a non-executive Director of General Accident plc, Lockheed Martin UK Limited and Smith & Nephew plc and a member of the British Government Panel on Sustainable Development. He was also a Member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (Nolan Committee), Chairman of the Government’s Asia Pacific Advisors, Trade Partners UK and a Member of the Singapore British Business Council….” (2013: )

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