Braving the rain in Carlisle today campaigners went to bear witness to the Nuclear Industry’s whitewashing of its seemingly never ending transports of mountains of spent fuel and nuclear materials.
The day is a great draw for thousands of railway enthusiasts who are in love with the diesel engines. Many are unaware of the dangerous cargo of nuclear fuel, even those who live in Carlisle.
Created in 1994 by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (now the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) to take over British Rail’s handling of nuclear material. DRS has since diversified into other freight operations including food. This diversification serves to take the focus away from the main purpose which is the transport of nuclear materials (the only publicly owned railway we are allowed to have is that bearing nuclear freight!)
Another shrewd display of sleight of hand to shroud this diabolic industry is this event which is billed as a “Charity Open Day….Bring the family along for a fun day out as we invite you to have a look behind the scenes. We’ll have a range of locomotives on show, including our new Class 88 and our friendly staff will be on hand providing technical information about all things DRS. Industry experts will once again be advising you how to stay safe and there will be plenty of exhibitors selling railway memorabilia galore……. there is something for everyone”. Quite!
The £5 entrance fee demanded on the gate goes to charities including charities supporting children with cancer and other radiation linked diseases. One of the employees we talked to was very proud of this, seeing no terrible irony in children from Chernobyl visiting the depot. If DRS was serious about preventing another Windscale, another Chernobyl, another Fukushima, then they would halt the transport of nuclear materials NOW and put an end to the never ending nuclear juggernaught.
NOT SO BRIEF ENCOUNTER – NUCLEAR TRAINS
Trains pulling containers of highly-radioactive nuclear fuel rods (“Nuclear Trains”) are operated by DRS, [Direct Rail Services owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) which transports this highly radioactive waste through some of most highly populated area in the UK.
Instead of being contained on the original nuclear sites of production the waste is taken to Sellafield where it is reprocessed. Reprocessing is intended to harvest the plutonium and uranium from spent fuel. But it increases the waste volume many times over with 8 million litres of radioactive waste discharged into the Irish Sea every day. Only a tiny fraction of plutonium and uranium has ever been used.
Nuclear trains are the most dangerous cargoes carried on our railways.
The flasks (even when empty) continually leak low-level radiation, and any increase in radiation levels in the environment means an increase in risk of radiation-linked diseases such as thyroid cancer and leukaemia. Women, young children and babies are most at risk.
As a result of a serious accident or terrorist attack the flasks could break open, releasing highly-radioactive material that would blow for miles in the wind.
HOW YOU CAN HELP?
Let others know about these waste trains.
Join us in our campaign to stop DRS transporting Nuclear Waste
For more information about the trains see the
Nuclear Waste Trains Action Group website