To: MP FOR WORKINGTON, Mark Jenkinson and Cumbria County Council
NO RADIOACTIVE SCRAP METAL DEPOT AT THE PORT OF WORKINGTON
EDF want to store up to 80 shipping containers of radioactive scrap metal at the Port of Workington.
The Port of Workington situated at the mouth of the river Derwent on the Solway Firth (both supposedly “protected”) has suffered from flooding in the past especially at high tides.
The radioactive waste is called “low level” but is very dangerous to human health and the environment.
Sellafield was fined almost £1 million in 2013 for mistakenly dumping low level radioactive waste at a local tip – the severity of the fine reflected (in a token way) the dangers to human health and the environment.
Now low level radioactive scrap metal is proposed for storage at the Port of Workington just a few hundred metres from residential areas. EDF say there may be “hotspots” in the waste which could include sheared metals in powder as well as solid form.
Cumbria County Council own and manage the Port of Workington but councillors have not had a chance to discuss and vote on this issue as it has gone through ‘on the nod’ as “permitted development.”
The MP for Workington has so far ignored, dismissed and even ridiculed the very real concerns of his constituents about this plan.
We urge the MP for Workington and Cumbria County Council to take these concerns seriously and at least allow councillors to have a full discussion and full vote on the plan to store 80 shipping containers of radioactive scrap metal at the Port of Workington just metres from residential areas and in spitting distance of the Solway. The tides are getting higher.
Each container would be allowed up to a full year languishing at the mouth of the River Derwent on the Solway Firth.
The nuclear industry’s shadow is spreading.
Stop and contain it now instead of dispersing to the public realm.
Why is this important?
Cumbria County Council say the decision to allow the plan to go ahead as “permitted development” is because they have been advised that this is “low level” nuclear wastes and that the Environment Agency have given a permit to Cyclife/EDF.
This makes no sense as low level radioactive waste is dangerous to human health – Sellafield was fined nearly £1M for dumping “low level” waste by “accident” at a landfill site.
The Environment Agency and Cyclife/EDF themselves admit that there would be unknown “hot spots” within the metals stored at the Port of Workington. The metal scrap from decommissioning nuclear plants that is found to be too radioactive to be treated at the Cyclife plant would be shipped to their sister plant in Sweden.
The Cyclife Application acknowledges that there would be “hot spots’ in the metal housed in the shipping containers of up to 1000Bq/g
“Chemical and physical details of the radioactive waste -.. The waste will be of nuclear origin, from either decommissioning activities or routine arisings and have an average specific activity of less than 100 Bq/g with a maximum for a hotspot of 1000 Bq/g.” The application includes the full range of radionuclides including plutonium.
There is no guarantee that the limit in the shipping containers would be the already generous “hot spot” 1000 Bq/g described by Cyclife. In reality there is likely to be undetected heavy radioactive material in the containers source and some of that could well be in powder form which is a lot more risky to contain (near a residential area) than solid lumps of metal.
Even “low level” wastes are harmful to human health and the environment which is why the Low Level Waste Repository at Drigg pays out “£1.5m a year for every year that the repository is operating; in addition to an initial endowment of £10 m.”
Health and the environment come cheap in Cumbria when it comes to nuclear impacts. People who have experience (which is too many) will testify that £millions are no compensation for a child’s cancer or other radiation linked diseases.
The industry itself has a Compensation Scheme for nuclear workers for cancers caused by low level radiation. Will this scheme be extended to the general public living 500 metres from a permanent “low level” nuclear waste storage area at the Port of Workington?
Will farmers be compensated for the loss of confidence in agricultural feed coming through a Port which is nuclear waste site?
Will paper companies producing packaging be compensated for the loss of confidence in their raw product which has come through a Port which is a nuclear waste site?
This is “business as usual” as far as the out of control nuclear industry is concerned.
Tim Knowles, the County Council’s former cabinet member responsible for nuclear issues has said of the nuclear dump plan at the Port of Workington : Nothing would kill its reputation quicker than making it yet another dumping ground in the increasing spread of nuclear waste sites. Surely keeping the waste at Sellafield and Drigg should be enough. Spreading it to Lillyhall and the Port of Workington damages Allerdale’s image as well. Isn’t having Copeland known as “The World’s Nuclear Dustbin” bad enough?..”
LLW Drigg Copeland Community Fund. https://copelandcommunityfund.co.uk/about-us/
Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases http://www.csrld.org.uk/index.php/q-a
Former Nuclear Issues County Councillor Tim Knowles Letter to the News and Star https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/19144384.readers-letter-dont-make-port-workington-nuclear-dumping-ground/
Your weekend edition front page story “Fears over ‘dangers’ of nuclear waste plan” implied that anti-nuclear campaigners environmentalists were opposed to the project.
It is not just the campaigners who are opposed to it.
I live locally and spent 20 years in the nuclear industry.
I have also spent many years involved in nuclear policy issues — and I’m against the proposals, too.
The problem is that West Cumbria, despite promise after promise of new investment, is fast becoming just the nation’s permanent nuclear rubbish dumping ground.
The Port of Workington should be a centre for new trade opportunities and a transport hub.
Nothing would kill its reputation quicker than making it yet another dumping ground in the increasing spread of nuclear waste sites.
Surely keeping the waste at Sellafield and Drigg should be enough.
Spreading it to Lillyhall and the Port of Workington damages Allerdale’s image as well.
Isn’t having Copeland known as “The World’s Nuclear Dustbin” bad enough?”