COAL, FRACKING and NUCLEAR in Close Proximity! Are they having a laugh?

nuclear and fossil fuel Map
an old map from the Nuclear Industry Association which euphemistically calls Sellafield a ‘fuel plant’  – you get the gist of the proximity of the sites from this map.

Dear Friends,

The Moorside plan is they say on hold this is not good enough it should be scrapped.    As if the Moorside plan being merely on hold wasn’t bad enough, there is now a plan to reopen the dangerous old coal mine at Whitehaven.  The proposed licenses for this would extend to within a mile or so of the Moorside site and Sellafield.  This is bonkers.  Fossil fuel extraction is known to cause earthquakes.  As well as this, the nuclear fuel plant, Springfields,  that would manufacture new high burn fuel for Moorside is just 5.33 miles from the frack site at Preston New Road. Again. What could go wrong?

There has been no debate on this, no outrage, despite the very real possibility of fossil fuel extraction causing earthquakes with resulting damage to nuclear infrastructure  and widespread radioactive pollution as we have seen from Fukushima

Now is a good time to write or speak to your prospective MPs.  Ask them to make sure the new Government holds a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction in the vicinity of planned and existing nuclear installations.  At present there is NO LIMIT on the proximity of fossil fuel extraction to nuclear installations – this is truly insane.

Radiation Free Lakeland recently wrote a letter to the Health and Safety Executive which you can use for ideas for writing to your prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

HSE head office

Health and Safety Executive
Redgrave Court
Merton Road
L20 7HS

Dear HSE,

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

Q What is the worst thing that could happen to Sellafield or any nuclear installation?

A Earthquake Damage

Earthquakes are known to be caused by The extraction of resources, including groundwater, coal, hydrocarbons and geothermal fluids, as well as tunnel excavation 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)

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 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 say .…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, 6 miles of 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,



Springfields “burial pits”

Map of Coal and Nuclear – Coal Action Network


One thought on “COAL, FRACKING and NUCLEAR in Close Proximity! Are they having a laugh?

  1. Pingback: Coal: Cumbria Tops Trump

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