Nuclear – Its Not Clean, Green, Safe or New: “New Green Industrial Revolution”

Letter sent to Boris Johnson today by Radiation Free Lakeland following unveiling of the Green Industrial Revolution “10 Point Plan”

On the Irish Sea bed – decades worth of Sellafield radioactive waste discharges – Under the Sea bed. – the plan for the Coal Mine.

Dear Prime Minister


Radiation Free Lakeland are a small voluntary nuclear safety group in Cumbria.  Inclusion of nuclear in the new green industrial revolution strikes us with absolute horror.  In our experience there is nothing new, safe, clean or green about nuclear.  Below we have summarised 10 Points Why you should Strike Nuclear Out of the “Green Industrial Revolution.”  There are many more points but we have stuck with 10.

The Government’s 10 point plan states: ” Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large scale nuclear and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs”.

Nuclear  as “green” and “clean” is the way the nuclear industry has aggressively rebranded itself.  This NuSpeak must be the most corrosive fake news that industrial civilisation has ever come up with.  Future generations dealing with the fall out from “historic”  radioactive wastes will look back with incredulity at how our leaders could have been so utterly wrong-headed as to call nuclear “clean” and “green”  This green industrial revolution will be the most dangerous, deceitful and life destroying of all the preceding industrial revolutions unless nuclear is struck out..

  1.  CLIMATE

Nuclear is part of the problem not the solution.  As the “10 Point Climate Package” graphically shows it is aggressively diverting money and resource from genuine renewables and energy efficiencies.   So called Small Modular Reactors WOULD NOT BE LOW CARBON They have the same problems of fossil fuel intensive and toxic uranium mining on the lands of indigenous folk around the world, uranium enrichment at Capenhurst in Cheshire, fuel manufacture at the Springfields Nuclear Fuel plant near Preston and final ‘disposal’ in an as yet unspecified nuclear dump. This all requires fossil fuel and lots of it.  Radioactive Waste Management have revealed through Freedom of Information answers to Radiation Free Lakeland that they have no idea how fossil fuel intensive their preferred “disposal” route of Geological Disposal would be.  They have no clue as to how much fossil fuel intensive copper and steel would be required to contain the EXISTING nuclear wastes during transport and “final disposal.”


2. RADIOACTIVE AND CHEMICAL POLLUTION

At every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle there is radioactive and chemical pollution.  This happens both by accident and by design.  The most serious and most voluminous pollution is from reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Reprocessing uses vast amounts of nitric acids to strip out the plutonium and uranium from the spent fuel, along with tens of millions of gallons of fresh water every day to dilute the crapola going down a long pipe  line into the Irish Sea. Virtually all the radioactivity in the original spent fuel ends up in the numerous reprocessing waste streams and discharges arising from reprocessing.  These waste streams require further management or disposal.  90% of all the reprocessing wastes discharged from Sellafield were sent down long pipelines into the Irish Sea.  The policy was to “dilute and disperse.”  This has not happened as anticipated and most of the decades worth of Sellafield’s “historic” and ongoing wastes are sat in the silts offshore on the Irish Sea bed known as the “Cumbrian Mud Patch.”   Note – directly below this Mud Patch is where the first deep coal mine in 30 years has been approved by Cumbria County Council

3. ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE – WILDLIFE AND THE ATOM

The effects of radiation are serious and long lasting. When Wildlife and the Atom was first published it was the only pamphlet to cover the effects of radiation upon our fellow creatures. That was in 1983, before Chernobyl & Fukushima.  However it does not take a major accident, the chronic ongoing impacts of routine, and accidental leaks are well documented in damage to reproduction and DNA.  Mental retardation has been found among children exposed to radiation in utero. Professor Timothy Mousseau and colleagues discovered the same pattern in the birds they studied in radiation damaged zones of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Almost 40% of the birds examined were sterile.


4.  FRESH WATER USE

Fresh water use is used profligately during every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from mining, enrichment, fuel manufacture, fuelling reactors to waste.  Large areas of the world including the UK already face water shortages and the effects of global warming are expected to exacerbate this problem. Nuclear power stations require more water than fossil fuel use does and the usage continues long after electricity production.  In West Cumbria, the home of Sellafield the water stress is acute with nuclear waste processes requiring R1 top quality water while the local population has to make do with having their domestic water supplemented from boreholes situated just 3 miles away from Sellafield.  The borehole water pulled up from the ground near the Sellafield plant has caused ongoing health problems.


5.  NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION

 The relationship between nuclear power and the proliferation of nuclear weapons nuclear weapons, fissionable material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology is well documented.  The UK government’s refusal to even participate in the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons treaty talks and now with the aggressive fake “green”push for new nuclear build the UK government is sending a strong message. The message is that nuclear proliferation is of no concern to the UK government.  Studies have shown that nuclear war would result in mass starvation due to the impact on agricultural production and profound climate change.  The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will officially enter into force on January 22nd after 50 countries ratified the agreement, with a further 84 signing it.

 
6. RADIATION LINKED DISEASES

The nuclear industry has a Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases including from the CSRLD website:

“A. The following cancers are included as specified eligible diseases because the parties accept, for the purposes of the Scheme, that they are capable of being caused by radiation:-

Bladder Bone
Brain & CentralNervous System Breast (female)
Colon Leukaemia
Liver   Lung/ Respiratory
Oesophagus  Ovary
Prostate Thyroid
Skin (non-Melanoma)Stomach
Uterus Cataract
Other Tissues* 

*If you are unsure whether the disease in question is eligible, it is suggested that you contact the scheme and or submit a claim.”

This compensation scheme does not extend beyond the cancer factory gates, the The UK government’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment  concede that the Sellafield reprocessing facilities in West Cumbria have more cases of childhood cancer than any other nuclear installation, but it fell short of attributing this anomaly to increased radiation exposure, pointing instead to the unvalidated theory that disease rates were a statistical ‘blip’ caused by a virus.  In contrast the German government fully accepts the link between proximity to nuclear power plants and cancers.

This graphic is from Dr Ian Fairlie’s  Comments on Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE): 14th REPORT. Further consideration of the incidence of childhood leukaemia around nuclear power plants in Great Britain. 2011

 The graphic indicates leukaemia increases of 47%, 36% or 22% are found depending on which types of leukaemia/lymphoma are selected.


7.  SITTING DUCKS FOR ATTACK

   Nuclear plants are sitting ducks for terrorist attack.  The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology assessed the risk of terrorist attack in 2004  “Achievement of objectives The aim of POST’s study was to provide Parliamentarians with a comprehensive overview of the risks and consequences of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities, based on information in the public domain, and to identify options for further analysis. However, as much of the information needed to carry out an exhaustive assessment is classified, the study has been constrained” 


8. LIMITED LIABILITY

The polluter pays principle does not apply in the case of the worst excesses or failures or catastrophes of the nuclear industry.  Of all industries the nuclear industry is the only one to enjoy such limited liability.  Nuclear operators are allowed to cap their liability at approximately one billion. This would only compensate for example for the loss of 6 months tourist trade in Cumbria. Or is equivalent to the combined insurance of traders in Cumbria’s one day County Show. Each trader needs to be insured for at least £5M and there are hundreds of traders. In contrast in the event of a major nuclear “accident” the nuclear industry is like a reckless uninsured (uninsurable) joyrider, literally a public liability.


9. UNWORKABLE NUCLEAR EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND EVACUATION PLANS

New regulations have been introduced to “increase the preparedness for radiation emergencies following the Fukushima disaster in Japan”.   Part of the new strategy means Outline Planning Zone’s must be put in place.  This would be a 50-kilometre circular zone from an epicentre at Sellafield.   What that means in practice is unclear, as are the Sellafield Emergency Planning booklets.  

10. THE MOST VULNERABLE ARE THE MOST AFFECTED
The most defenseless are at the greatest risk—children, the elderly, minorities, the poor and animals—at every phase of the nuclear fuel chain.

Yours sincerely

Radiation Free Lakeland

REFERENCES

  1. CLIMATE

Some of the reasons why new nuclear should not be on the table or anywhere near it are outlined in a report by the Edinburgh Energy and Environment Consultancy. 

Fossil Fuel and the GDF …after much obfuscation wrapped up in meaningless technical detail…this was the result from Radiation Waste Management  “I appreciate that we haven’t

been able to provide you with a single materials figure for copper and

steel. However, at this stage of the siting process this information is

not available because of the number possible variables which are largely

site dépendant.”   https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/steel_and_copper_use_in_a_gdf#incoming-1629699

Government slashes energy efficiency spending by 80 per cent in so-called 10 point climate package

Andrew Warren, the Chairman of the British Energy Efficiency Federation, says that spending on energy efficiency has been slashed by 80 per cent. Meanwhile the gas and nuclear lobbies are being paid many hundreds of millions of pounds for projects that are unlikely to cut carbon emissions for many years to come, if ever. See https://100percentrenewableuk.org/blog
2. Radioactive and Chemical Pollution

Spotlight on Springfields

Capenhurst The Facts 

Sellafield Discharge Rise Embarrasses John Prescott https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/apr/22/politics.nuclear

Britain to Become Dirty Old Man of Europe Again https://www.robedwards.com/2011/02/britain-to-become-dirty-old-man-of-europe-again.html

3. ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE – WILDLIFE AND THE ATOM

Wildlife and the Atom https://issuu.com/wildart/docs/wildlife_and_the_atom-_with_photos_edits

Blind Mice and Bird Brains https://theecologist.org/2016/apr/25/blind-mice-and-bird-brains-silent-spring-chernobyl-and-fukushima
4. FRESH WATER 

Increasing supply from new boreholes https://www.cumbriacrack.com/2020/05/01/west-cumbrians-told-about-increased-borehole-supply/

Troubled Waters and the Nuclear Industry https://sciscomedia.co.uk/nuclear-contamination-drinking-water/

6. RADIATION LINKED DISEASES

https://newint.org/features/2005/09/01/cancer_rates

7.TERRORIST ATTACK

8 LIMITED LIABILITY

Cumbrian Economy worth over £2bn http://www.cumbriatourism.org/business-support/awards-why-enter.aspx  Cumbria County Show http://www.westmorlandshow.co.uk/ 

http://www.nuclearpolicy.org/docs/consultations/NFLA_P_B_Liability_Response.pdf .  

9. UNWORKABLE EVACUATION PLANS  https://www.in-cumbria.com/news/18753183.sellafield-nuclear-disaster-spread-across-cumbria—new-map-shows/

What to do in an emergency at Sellafield https://www.gov.uk/guidance/what-to-do-in-an-emergency-at-sellafield

2 thoughts on “Nuclear – Its Not Clean, Green, Safe or New: “New Green Industrial Revolution”

  1. Roger Cartwright

    Spot on – black not green, glad to see your quick response, the long term pollution and unknown cost to future generaations ought to be enough to convince any sane person that nuclear is certainly not green

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