Fossil Fueled Earthquakes at the UKs Two Key Nuclear Sites?

nuclear and fossil fuel Map.jpg
This map is from the Nuclear Industry Association, (its an old map, Sellafield nuclear waste dump described as a fuel plant).  Additions by Radiation Free Lakeland showing the close proximity of proposed fossil fuel extraction to Sellafield and Springfields.

 

FOSSIL FUELED EARTHQUAKES NEAR NUCLEAR INSTALLATIONS?

Nuclear and Fracking Campaigners across the UK have joined forces to oppose fossil fuel extraction within the vicinity of the UK’s key nuclear installations, Sellafield in Cumbria and Springfields in Lancashire.

Radiation Free Lakeland has sent a letter to the Health and Safety Executive urging a moratorium. The letter says: “Given the vast uncertainty regarding the classification of nuclear materials at both Sellafield and Springfields at the very least there should be a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction within the vicinity of nuclear installations. We call for a comprehensive inquiry, which includes the worst-case scenarios that could result from induced seismic activity near nuclear installations. The inquiry should be undertaken honestly and transparently and be fully independent of current government policy”.

Currently there is no limit on the proximity of fossil fuel extraction to nuclear installations despite the known risks of induced earthquakes.

 SELLAFIELD AND COAL

 “The prospect of reopening and extending the Whitehaven Coal Mine with licenses extending to within a few miles of the decrepit and highly dangerous Sellafield nuclear waste complex is ringing alarm bells in North Wales where we experienced a 5.4 Richter scale earthquake in 1984, the largest ever recorded in Britain. Deliberately creating seismic dangers by reopening this mine so close to the deadliest stockpile of nuclear waste at Sellafield is a deliberately wreckless act of environmental vandalism. PAWB supports Radiation Free Lakeland’s call for an immediate moratorium on fossil fuel extraction, either coal or fracking, within the vicinity of the nuclear installations at Heysham, Sellafield and Springfields because of the obvious seismic risks.”

Dylan Morgan on behalf of the anti-nuclear campaign group PAWB, Pobl Atal Wylfa B / People Against Wylfa B http://stop-wylfa.org/wp/

SPRINGFIELDS AND FRACKING

“It beggars belief that a fracking pad is being constructed five miles from the Springfields Nuclear Fabrication plant and their nearby nuclear waste dump at Clifton Marsh landfill. We have already witnessed the effects of induced seismicity in the area from one frack at Preese Hall six years ago. Cuadrilla is planning 40-60 wells on the super pad at Preston New Road and maybe up to 100 other pads throughout the Fylde. The area is heavily faulted making it more susceptible not only to seismicity but also to groundwater contamination from the Clifton Marsh nuclear dump. For Sajid Javid to overrule Lancashire County Council’s decision and allow these two forms of extreme energy to sit side-by-side is madness. The people of Lancashire are unprotected and the public health implications are enormous.

Pam Foster from RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)

http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/

Martyn Lowe from Close Capenhurst Campaign says that:

“The danger of something happening at Springfields with any of the Uranium Hexaflouride which is on the site is already very worrying. If there was even a very minor earth tremor as the result of fracking, then it might well increase the odds of something really nasty happening at the site. I very much doubt if Toshiba Westinghouse or the Office for Nuclear Regulation have factored in such a danger in to any of their emergency procedures about what would happen to the plant.”

http://close-capenhurst.org.uk/

 LIQUEFACTION AT SELLAFIELD AND SPRINGFIELDS?

Radiation Free Lakeland’s letter to the HSE points out that induced seismic activity from fossil fuel extraction would not have “stand alone” consequences in this part of the North West. For example The North West of England has been the only area in the UK ever to have suffered a liquefaction event following a rather minor earthquake near Barrow (now home to Trident) in 1865. The magnitude was probably in the range 2.5–3.5 ML.” pure and applied geophysics November 1998, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 733–745

ENDS

for press enquiries please contact rafl@mariannebirkby.plus.com

 RADIATION FREE LAKELAND’s FULL LETTER TO THE HSE

HSE head office

Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
Bootle                                                                                              19th April 2017
Merseyside
L20 7HS

I am writing on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland, a nuclear safety volunteer group in Cumbria.

 Q. What is the worst thing (barring terrorist attack) that could happen to Sellafield or any nuclear installation?

 A. Earthquake

Earthquakes are known to be caused by “The extraction of resources, including groundwater, coal, hydrocarbons and geothermal fluids, as well as tunnel excavation which have also been reported to induce earthquakes, as have injection activities. Injection activities include waste fluid disposal, hydrofracturing (commonly known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking)” http://inducedearthquakes.org/causes-of-induced-seismicity/

We would draw your attention to the close proximity of the plan to reopen and extend The Whitehaven Coal Mine with licenses extending to within a few miles of Sellafield, the most dangerous nuclear site with crumbling infrastructure holding the worlds largest stockpile of plutonium. Incredibly there is all round praise being heaped on the plans to reopen Whitehaven coal mine on Cumbria’s West Coast, known historically as the most gaseous, dangerous pit in the Kingdom.  The planning application is due to be submitted by West Cumbria Mining in May of this year.

Much of the nuclear waste at Sellafield originated at Springfields, Nr Preston, the worlds first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant. As you will know Springfields is owned by the British Government but currently run by the financially troubled Westinghouse.

Much of what happens at Springfields is hidden from view. The plan for fracking at Preston New Road just over 5 miles away has however been well highlighted. The main stream media spotlight has never, however, fallen on PNR’s proximity to Springfields.

As with coal mining just offshore from Sellafield, induced seismic activity from fossil fuel extraction will not have “stand alone” consequences in this part of the North West.

The risks are manifold and The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Quarterly Site Report for Springfields Fuels Limited (1 July – 30 September 2014) tells us of one (non siesmic) “event” “a small weepage of uranium hexafluoride residue, from within two ageing legacy uranium hexafluoride transport containers. This type of container is no longer authorised for transport off the site. These two transport container had been stored on an external storage raft, alongside other similar containers.” There have been many more “events.”   As well as carrying out uranium conversion and many other radiological and chemical processes the Springfields site has several underground burial pits. These burial pits contain largely unknown material deposited in the mid to late 1950s. Westinghouse says, “work is currently taking place to confirm the characterisation of waste in the pits.” As well as these burial pits Springfields radiological wastes (including : depleted uranium) also goes to Clifton Marsh landfill on the river Ribble, approx. 6 miles away from Preston New Road fracking site. The uranium is mixed with PVC clothing, paper and other flammable materials, contaminated as a result of nuclear fuel manufacturing for nuclear power stations in the UK and worldwide.

Chillingly the North West of England has been the only area in the UK ever to have suffered a liquefaction event following a rather minor earthquake. Imagine a liquefaction event at Sellafield, Springfields or Clifton Marsh.

“High intensity and liquefaction phenomena are usually associated only with relatively large magnitude earthquakes. An earthquake in 1865 in the North West of England suggests that a sufficiently shallow small event can also produce liquefaction. The effects are well documented in historical sources and include sand fountaining. Modern investigation is confined to documentary evidence owing to the tidal environment of the area where liquefaction occurred. Analysis shows that the felt area of the earthquake was probably only about 200 km2; however, heavy damage occurred in the village of Rampside and the maximum intensity is assessed at 8. Liquefaction is not uncommon at this intensity, but such a high intensity is not usually produced by such small earthquakes. The magnitude was probably in the range 2.5–3.5 ML.” pure and applied geophysics November 1998, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 733–745

Given the vast uncertainty regarding the classification of nuclear materials at both Sellafield and Springfields at the very least there should be a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction within the vicinity of nuclear installations. We call for a comprehensive inquiry which includes the worst case scenarios that could result from induced seismic activity near nuclear installations. The inquiry should be undertaken honestly and transparently and be fully independent of current government policy.

 

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland

Address…

Springfields “burial pits”

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/iacs/nusac/031106/p17.pdf    (copy and paste for pdf)

Map of Coal and Nuclear – Coal Action Network

http://coalaction.org.uk/2017/03/coal-and-nuclear-a-honeycomb-of-lies-in-west-cumbria-guest-blog/

QUOTES

Quotes from just a few of the Concerned Groups

Martyn Lowe from Close Capenhurst Campaign

“The danger of something happening at Springfields with any of the Uranium Hex which is on the site is already very worrying. If there was even a very minor earth tremor as the result of fracking, then it might well increase the odds of something really nasty happening at the site. I very much doubt if Toshima Westinghouse or the ONR have factored in such a danger in to any of their emergency procedures about what would happen to the plant.”

http://close-capenhurst.org.uk/

Pam Foster from RAFF (Residents Action on Fylde Fracking)

“It beggars belief that a fracking pad is being constructed five miles from the Springfields Nuclear Fabrication plant and their nearby nuclear waste dump at Clifton Marsh landfill. We have already witnessed the effects of induced seismicity in the area from one frack at Preese Hall six years ago. Cuadrilla is planning 40-60 wells on the super pad at Preston New Road and maybe up to 100 other pads throughout the Fylde. The area is heavily faulted making it more susceptible not only to seismicity but also to groundwater contamination from the Clifton Marsh nuclear dump. For Sajid Javid to overrule Lancashire County Council’s decision and allow these two forms of extreme energy to sit side-by-side is madness. The people of Lancashire are unprotected and the public health implications are enormous.”

http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/

Marianne Birkby Radiation Free Lakeland:

“Fossil fuel extraction is known to cause induced seismic activity – for the government to be encouraging fracking AND coal mining within a few miles of the North Wests most dangerous nuclear installations is an assault on every human beings right to clean water, clean air and the right to live without the accelerating threat of emergency nuclear evacuation or worse.”

https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/

Jonathon Porritt founder of Forum for the Future:

“Anyone serious about a genuinely sustainable energy strategy for the UK should be as implacably opposed to fracking as they are to the idea of new nuclear power stations. When these twin horrors of our wholly unsustainable energy legacy are put together, in close juxtaposition, we should all be up in arms.”

https://www.forumforthefuture.org/

Dylan Morgan from People Against Wylfa B:

“The prospect of reopening and extending the Whitehaven Coal Mine with licenses extending to within a few miles of the decrepit and highly dangerous Sellafield nuclear waste complex is ringing alarm bells in North Wales where we experienced a 5.4 Richter scale earthquake in 1984, the largest ever recorded in Britain. Deliberately creating seismic dangers by reopening this mine so close to the deadliest stockpile of nuclear waste at Sellafield is a deliberately wreckless act of environmental vandalism. PAWB supports Radiation Free Lakeland’s call for an immediate moratorium on fossil fuel extraction, either coal or fracking, within the vicinity of the nuclear installations at Heysham, Sellafield and Springfields because of the obvious seismic risks.”

Dylan Morgan on behalf of the anti-nuclear campaign group PAWB, Pobl Atal Wylfa B / People Against Wylfa B http://stop-wylfa.org/wp/

 

Elfed Jones from Nerth a Nature – Nature Not Nuclear Wales

“It’s time to stop the “Insanity” of Nuclear. It is not compatible with life on this planet”.

What do People think…

Sam from Lancaster :

“I am seriously frightened by any plans to frack or mine near nuclear materials and installations. The Fylde fracking tests have already caused earth tremors and the sites are so close to Springfields . . . It massively increases the already huge risks of nuclear. This is pure madness especially when renewables are entirely capable of keeping the lights on. It scares me to live close to Heysham, with Springfields to the south and Sellafield to the north. Please dont frack or mine anywhere near these places”.

https://www.edfenergy.com/energy/power-stations/heysham-1

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