Fylde Fracking Near Nuclear Fuel Site – “No Problem” says Government

A supporter of Radiation Free Lakeland has been doing excellent work in a series of letters to the Rt Hon Claire Perry MP in relation to fracking in Lancashire near the Springfields Nuclear Fuel site.

The reply is an essay in nonchalance which is breathtaking in the wake of the supposed precautionary principle lessons learnt after Grenfell.

So what do they say.  “The Government has assurance that fracking does not pose a significant risk to nuclear installations based on the assessments of the Office for Nuclear Regulation.”    This sounds plausible enough until you realise that the regulators rely on the Springfields site to do their own safety assessment saying “Any such assessment takes into account the distance of the operations from the site on a case-by-case basis.”   We challenge anyone to prise the non existent safety assessment for the close proximity of Cuadrilla fracking  (5.5 miles  PNR and 2 miles Roseacre) from the Springfields Nuclear Fuel site and its associated nuclear landfill at Clifton Marsh.

Where is this mythical “case by case” assessment?

Here is the full letter below – sheesh!!

31st Oct by email from BEIS

“Thank you for your email of 12 October, to the Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, outlining your concerns in relation to fracking in Lancashire near nuclear installation.

The Minister is pleased you have taken the trouble to write to her and I have been asked to reply.

Nuclear safety is a top priority for the UK Government. Nuclear power stations must comply with our stringent nuclear safety laws, overseen by a robust and independent regulator the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The Government has assurance that fracking does not pose a significant risk to nuclear installations based on the assessments of the ONR.  The ONR requires all nuclear sites to consider the effect of nearby industrial facilities and demonstrate that any associated risks to the nuclear facility are included within the nuclear facility’s stringent safety assessment (safety case). This includes risks from fracking activities. Any such assessment takes into account the distance of the operations from the site on a case-by-case basis.

Springfields Fuels Ltd have assessed the issue of fracking and the few facilities on site which have the potential for a release are substantiated to withstand seismic events of a significantly greater magnitude than those events which are projected as possible as a consequence of fracking activities. There is, thus, no increase in risk associated with the Springfields Fuels Ltd site arising from any increase in seismic activity as a result of fracking activities off-site. All nuclear sites are required to maintain a watching brief on activities outside of their control to ensure that any new or changed activity is enveloped by their safety case.

Safety cases, which cover risk of induced earthquakes, are the responsibility of the site licensee and so any decision to publish them is a matter for the licensee in question.

The transport of uranium hexafluoride on the roads of Great Britain, including on roads with other HGVs, is safe. Springfields has to satisfy the ONR that transport packages meet stringent, internationally agreed regulatory standards published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before they can use it for transporting uranium hexafluoride. Springfields does this by periodically submitting a safety case which is assessed by the ONR. The ONR is satisfied that these transportations are safe. The UK has an exemplary safety record, there have been no significant transport incidents arising from either the radiological or chemical nature of uranium hexafluoride.
Springfields carry out routine monitoring of radioactive discharges from the site operations and conduct a wider environmental monitoring programme in accordance the requirements of the radioactive substances activity environmental permit. The Environment Agency (EA) also carries out an environmental monitoring programme around Springfields (as well as all other nuclear sites). The monitoring data from the EA programme is used for the annual Radioactivity in Food and the Environmental (RIFE) publication. The latest report (2017) can be found at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/radioactivity-in-food-and-the-environment-rife-reports. All these monitoring programmes will continue to be undertaken.

The Environment Agency has installed a continuous monitoring unit near to the Preston New Road shale site that monitors ambient air for background levels of oxides of nitrogen, particulates, methane, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and m&p-xylene, as well as wind speed and wind direction. Reports from this can be found on Citizen Space: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/onshore-oil-and-gas/information-on-cuadrillas-preston-new-road-site/. This enables the Environment Agency to understand the background level of the types of pollutants that may be detectable before the hydraulic fracturing and well testing stages commence.

The strict requirements of Cuadrilla’s Environmental permit includes the requirement for air monitoring of point source emissions from the flares as set out in Table S3.1 of the permit:

Click to access cuadrilla-permit-variation-v004.pdf

The operator is required to monitor oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and total volatile organic carbons (VOCs) annually, methane and flare combustion temperature continuously and hydrogen sulphide monthly.  Pre-Operational condition 10 requires the operator to submit a report to the Environment Agency setting out how they plan to operate and control Activity A1 (flaring). The requirements of PO10 are set out below and must be signed off prior to flaring operations commencing for well testing.

The Operator has submitted an operational and control procedure to the Environment Agency and it is currently under review.  In addition, the sites Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP) sets out details of the ambient air monitoring programme proposed for during and after the period of gas flaring. This was approved by the Environment Agency on 17 May 2018.

The Environment Agency undertakes a series of inspections and audits to assess Cuadrilla’s compliance with their permit and operational documents during the hydraulic fracturing phase. This includes taking measurements using an optical gas imaging camera to detect fugitive emissions of gas. The Environment Agency also audit the operator’s monitoring equipment for the prevention of fugitive emissions.

Thank you for taking the time to write. I hope this information is useful.

Yours sincerely


The Day Today

3 thoughts on “Fylde Fracking Near Nuclear Fuel Site – “No Problem” says Government

  1. Pingback: Fylde Fracking Near Nuclear Fuel Site – “No Problem” says Government — « nuclear-news

  2. Pingback: This week – Nuclear and Climate News – Australia and Beyond | Nuclear Australia

  3. Pingback: Nuclear and climate news – week to 6 November « nuclear-news

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