Yesterday was the 32nd anniversary of the ongoing Chernobyl disaster. I recieved a letter from Tim Farron MP following questions from Radiation Free Lakeland on the trade from the UK in nuclear materials to the Russian ports of St Petersburg and Moscow. The letter repeats a message from the Foreign Office that ‘all is well’ as the uranium going to Russia from the UK is merely for “civil” uranium. Thats ok then? Or is it. The Chernobyl disaster may well have involved materials sent from the UK, the next and even more deadly nuclear reactors may well be using enriched uranium materials sent from the UK . The world’s first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant at Springfields was sending nuclear materials to the Soviet Union during the cold war. These nuclear materials included uranium hexaflouride which can go one of two ways to reactors or to make bombs. Kind of makes a mockery of Raymond Briggs classic comic book “When the Wind Blows” which was based on the “Russkies” coming to bomb the bejesus out of us. We were sold a lie.
The Springfields Nuclear Fuel manufacturing plant is slap bang in the middle of the protests going on right now against fracking. It is 3 miles from Roseacre Wood and on the narrow country road proposed for the HGVs. Thing is, no one is mentioning the uniquely dangerous nuclear cargo in and out of the Springfields site. The Council for the Protection of Rural England sent in a very detailed submission for the Roseacre Wood inquiry that just finished this week on fracking plan. The CPRE went into great detail about Highway Safety on the A583 ‘Blue Route’ but failed to mention the thousands of nuclear transports going in and out of the Springfields site every year. The CPRE are not alone. I’ve just phoned up Greenpeace who tell me that they did not mention Springfields being situated on the A583 as this “would detract from the fracking issue.”
Here is our letter to the Roseacre Wood Planning Inspector.
23rd April 2018
Planning Inspectorate Reference: APP/Q2371/W/15/3134385
Dear Mr Melvyn Middleton,
PAST THE GATES OF SPRINGFIELDS NUCLEAR FUEL PLANT
I would like to apologise for the lateness of this submission on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland but sincerely hope that you are able to take our submission into careful consideration.
Radiation Free Lakeland are a group of volunteers based in Cumbria with supporters in Lancashire. Our remit is nuclear safety. We have written to Lancashire County Council and to the Health and Safety Executive repeatedly regarding the close proximity of fossil fuel extraction to nuclear sites.
Cloak of Invisibility Over Springfields Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel Site
The BBC and others have failed to expose the close proximity of Cuadrilla’s sites to Springfields. In the image below from the BBC we have added a label for Springfields (built up area shaped like a teardrop) onto their map of the Roseacre Wood and Little Plumpton proposed fracking sites. The old Ordnance Survey map to the right states “Works (Nuclear Fuels).” The word ‘Nuclear’ has long since been dropped from newer maps
BLUE ROUTE: MATERIALS FOR ALL UK CIVIL MILITARY NUCLEAR INDUSTRY (and overseas too)
Cuadrilla appears oblivious to the Blue Route going past the gates of Springfields Nuclear Fuel Manufacturing Plant. There is no mention of Springfields at all, as far as we can see in their Core Documents
This lack of awareness by Cuadrilla of the unique dangers posed by Springfields is alarming.
Through the gates of the Springfields plant pass a deadly cargo of nuclear materials which have fuelled nuclear bombs, nuclear reactors and nuclear accidents for 70 years. These materials pose a radiological and chemical threat to human health and to the environment.
In 2000 the Guardian reported “Flasks used by British Nuclear Fuels to transport dangerous radioactive material can resist fire for less than three minutes, newly released research reveals.
“The revelation will provide fresh headaches for the crisis-ridden BNFL, which runs a major business using the flasks. New safety regulations demanded by the United Nations mean that all the flasks will now have to be replaced.
“The tests by France’s nuclear safety agency showed that the flasks would rupture within 175 seconds in a fire.
“The flasks are used to transport 20,000 tonnes of uranium hexafluoride or “hex” – the raw material to make fuel for nuclear power stations – around the world every year, much of it for BNFL. Hex is particularly dangerous because as well as being radioactive it reacts with air to produce hydrofluoric acid, a gas which destroys the lungs. “Using the suspect flasks BNFL exports hex to Russia, US and Europe from its Springfields fuel fabrication plant in Preston. Internationally, the nuclear industry makes 2,300 shipments of hex every year by road, rail and sea. The study was by the Institut de Protection et de Sreté Nucléaire (IPSN) in Paris, which advises the French government on nuclear safety. IPSN scientists led by Gilles Sert baked flasks in an oven and ran computer simulations to see if the hex container most widely used, a type 48Y, would survive the kind of fire that could erupt after an accident.”
In 1989 M. A. Simpson of BNFL Springfields wrote: “The fuel and enrichment divisions within BNFL are involved in some 4000 lorry journeys per year covering the transport of non-irradiated fuel elements as well as the feed materials and intermediate products of the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle.”
Springfields is leased by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to an asset management company from Canada
TO RUSSIA FROM SPRINGFIELDS (VIA THE BLUE ROUTE)
Springfields provides nuclear fuel and materials to many overseas customers including Russia. Has Cuadrilla asked the Office for Nuclear Regulation for a full itinerary of Springfields vehicle movements and cargo passing along the Blue Route? We asked last year under a Freedom of Information request for information on the transport of enriched uranium from Springfields to Russia (documents attached) and we were told the information from 2014 would be “too burdensome” to retrieve.
Cuadrilla say that the volume of HGV traffic along the Blue Route would be increased by 80.65% which suggests they have information from Springfields on Nuclear Materials HGV movements. This begs the question: why hasn’t the hazardous nature of the cargo from Springfields been acknowledged by Cuadrilla in their Transport Consultation Reports?
BULK RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS – CAREFUL!
There is no doubt that the lorries carrying radiological and chemical materials passing in and out of Springfields gates hold a cargo uniquely dangerous to human health. This cargo has to be carried extremely carefully.
The increase in HGV movements as a result of fracking at Roseacre would add high risks to an already intolerable (and with new nuclear build increasing) risk from the transports of radiological and chemical materials to and from the Springfields plant UK Government want to see an increase in this radioactive burden to and from Springfields with new nuclear build.
Public health is a stated priority in the Fylde Coast Highways and Transport Masterplan. We suggest that approval for an up to 80% increase in HGV on this rural lane ‘blue route’ along which also travels ALL the UKs nuclear fuel and process materials would fly in the face of public health and safety. Radiation Free Lakeland asks that Cuadrilla’s appeal be unequivocally turned down.
Thank you for your consideration of this hot potato that no one appears to want to address ie Springfields Nuclear Fuel Manufacturing Plant on the Blue Route
 Council Urged No Fracking in Lancashire https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/council-urged-no-fracking-in-lancashire-take-responsibility-for-existing-risk/
 Fossil Fueled Earthquakes? https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/fossil-fueled-earthquakes-at-the-uks-two-key-nuclear-sites/
 Transport Consultation Report Nov 2017 http://programmeofficers.co.uk/Cuadrilla2018/CD6/CD6.1.pdf
 Nuclear Flasks Fail Safety Tests https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2000/apr/01/energy.nuclearindustry
 Westinghouse Acquired https://www.lancashirebusinessview.co.uk/westinghouse-acquired-4-6bn-100565/
 Carefully to Carry Radioactive Uranium Hexaflouride https://www.ukpandi.com/fileadmin/uploads/uk-pi/LP%20Documents/Carefully_to_Carry/C2C_Articles_2018/Radioactive_Uranium_Hexaflouride__UF6_.pdf