Ellesmere Port : Uranium Hexafluoride and Fracking Side by Side? What Could Go Wrong?


Capenhurst & Fracking Ellesmere Port.jpg
As the crow flies: Capenhurst Uranium Enrichment plant to the proposed frack site: 3.4 miles


Radiation Free Lakeland and Close Capenhurst have successfully placed a late Comment
before the Ellesmere Port Igas Inquiry.
Uranium Hexafluoride and Fracking Side by Side?  What Could Go Wrong?

Nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland says – “alongside the group, Close Capenhurst, we have been working on a report which exposes the unique dangers of the Capenhurst plant.  Capenhurst is the UK’s uranium enrichment plant with 600 container movements annually of uranium products including Uranium Hexafluoride which is uniquely dangerous to health. Adding a frack site just 4 miles away from this already intolerable chemo and radiotoxic burden would be madness”.

photo taken in May 2018 – barrels of uranium hexafluoride arriving at Springfields in Preston from Capenhurst in Cheshire


Dear Mr Tim Salter

Ellesmere Port Inquiry APP/A0665/W/18/3207952.

We sincerely hope that this comment and information (also attached) can be passed onto the Planning Inspector, Brian Cook.

On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland I would like to apologise for the extreme lateness of this comment.

Radiation Free Lakeland are a group of volunteers based in Cumbria with supporters in Lancashire and Cheshire. Our remit is nuclear safety. We have written to Lancashire County Council [1]and to the Health and Safety Executive[2] repeatedly regarding the close proximity of fossil fuel extraction to nuclear sites. This comment for the Planning Inspector is also copied to Cheshire West and Chester Council. We urge the Inspector to uphold the decision not to allow Igas to test its well at Ellesmere Port for the following reasons.

  • Close Proximity to the UK’s Uranium Enrichment Site at Capenhurst and increased HGV movements in an area already burdened with chemo and radiotoxic HGVs.
  • Possibility of increased seismic activity in the vicinity of a uranium enrichment plant with attendant risk to human health.

A soon to be published report, “Capenhurst The facts” commissioned by Close Capenhurst states that:

“Located just ten kilometres (seven miles) north of Chester and less than six km (four miles) southwest from Ellesmere Port, URENCO‘s Capenhurst site spans 110 hectares (270 acres). …

Ellesmere Port and Liverpool are two of the ports that URENCO uses for exporting uranium from the plant. “

The author of “Capenhurst The facts, “ Lowana Veal is a biologist and freelance journalist based in Iceland. She notes that: “The Dutch anti-nuclear watchdog WISE report that enriched uranium was transported 182 times to and from Capenhurst in 2014 “

Enriched uranium is sent from Capenhurst in standard 30B cylinders that typically weigh 2.27 tonnes (5,020 lb) and are approximately 75 cm (30’’) in diameter.”

The report goes on to say that “A government document published in 2017 and entitled Survey into the Radiological Impact of the Normal Transport of Radioactive Material in the UK by Road and Rail says that …. the total number of 30B cylinders transported by road from Capenhurst in 2014 was close to 600. Of these, 252 cylinders went in 22 consignments from UK sea ports to Capenhurst; 46 consignments with a total of 251 cylinders went from Capenhurst to the ports; and 18 consignments with 91 cylinders went from Capenhurst to Springfields.

That is a lot of movement of uniquely dangerous chemo and radiotoxic material. Has an Environmental Impact Assessment on increased road vehicle movements included the close proximity of Capenhurst. If not, why not?

The late John Large was described by The Guardian as a “Consulting engineer known for his work on nuclear safety who was never afraid to take on such a powerful industry” In June 2018 John Large replied to Radiation Free Lakeland’s query about the containers arriving at Springfields from Capenhurst. This is his reply : The uranium hexafluoride (UF6) containers in your photos are of the type 48Y which is designated as a Type B cask that is required to sustain immersion in a fire of 800°C for 30 minutes – this test condition is not that particularly onerous, neither in temperature nor duration of the immersing fire.”

We have attached the full and as yet unpublished report “Capenhurst The facts.’  We believe these  well hidden facts serve to reinforce the validity of the decision not to allow Igas to frack. We respectfully ask that the appeal by Igas against the democratic decision is not upheld.

Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby

Radiation Free Lakeland (address supplied)

RaFL blog https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/

Martyn Lowe

Close Capenhurst, (address supplied)

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



3 thoughts on “Ellesmere Port : Uranium Hexafluoride and Fracking Side by Side? What Could Go Wrong?

  1. Pingback: Ellesmere Port : Uranium Hexafluoride and Fracking Side by Side? What Could Go Wrong? | sideshowtog

  2. Pingback: Countering Capenhurst – Winter 2019 – Close Capenhurst

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