Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland has said that “Allerdale acknowledge that this nuclear laundry has set up shop on the Lillyhall Business Park without planning permission. However their reply to us makes it clear that the Council is colluding with Sellafield’s agenda to divert nuclear activity miles away from its main site and into the public domain using private companies to carry out lucrative contracts to pollute the wider environment. The assurance from Allerdale Borough Council that the laundry from Sellafield is screened and that the drains at the ECL laundry checked daily smacks of complicity with the nuclear industry rather than any desire to protect the public or our increasingly stressed environment including the increasing nuclear industry use of the public water supply. (Sellafield has its own dedicated water supplies from Wastwater, the Rivers Ehen and Calder and other sources). The laundry has a comprehensive radioactive substances permit from the Environment Agency – who seem to be giving out radioactive permits for private companies to service Sellafield like confetti.”
Further to my recent email, I have now personally visited the Energy Coast Laundry and have established the following facts.
The materials from Sellafield that are despatched to ECL are limited to items worn beneath work overalls. The batches are comprised mainly of underwear and towels. Outer garments and any materials used in the medical facility at Sellafield are laundered on the Sellafield site.
All batches are screened before departure from Sellafield and will not be allowed to leave the site if raised levels of radiation are detected at that point.
The batches are screened again at ECL,
There are no emissions to the air from ECL other than pure steam from the dryers.
Water samples are collected from the drains each day which are then checked on a weekly basis for radioactive content above normal background levels. None has been detected.
Allerdale Borough Council is responsible for giving permission for structural changes to buildings and for changes of use. Following your original complaint, one of our senior planning officers has visited ECL and determined that planning permission does need to be obtained for some of the changes to structures that have been made. This is now being addressed. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
The fact that ECL is receiving materials from Sellafield necessitates a license from the Environment Agency.
The Environment Agency is responsible for checking compliance with license conditions. No deviation from these conditions has occurred since the laundry became operational.
My visit assured me that stringent checks are in place both at Sellafield and at the laundry itself to ensure that there is no danger to employees or to the general public. The materials handled at the laundry are, as above stated, at negligible risk of exposure to radiation and would be held on site at Sellafield if above normal background levels were ever detected.
I do hope that this helps to allay your concerns. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.