Terrible news coming in on the floods in West Cumbria with millions of pounds worth of new defences being breached. The BBC Helicopter relaying images of the awful devastation has very carefully avoided showing areas in which the growing number of nuclear installations have been dumped on this flood prone land:
Sellafield, Drigg, Lillyhall and the proposed new nuclear plant on the river Ehen floodplain, Moorside.
Why the journalistic omission? Why are there no questions being asked about the breaching of Cumbria’s growing number of uncontainable nuclear installations which already leach “with a controlled release of radioactivity” into Groundwaters, Marine Holding Tanks and such like?
• We believe that existing nuclear waste should be stored
in a retrievable manner at the surface, or near to the surface, in line
with Scotland’s Higher Activity Radioactive Waste Policy 2011.(pdf). Waste could
then be monitored and managed appropriately without risk of exposure to
water supplies, and without additional cause for concern for future
• We are also concerned about how communities are being
defined for the purposes of this exercise especially since UKOOG has
defined ‘community’ as perhaps being the sole tenant on any given site,
this is clearly an unsatisfactory definition when there are such widespread
far-reaching consequences for current generations and future generations.
• The only operational facility for Nuclear Waste
Management in the world; the ‘Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’ project in
Carlsbad New Mexico, only receives ‘low-level’ radioactive wastes. A
serious incident occurred on Feb 14th 2014 where radionuclides reached the
surface and leaked into the surrounding area. *W.I.P.P is still closed over
a year later due to the widespread contamination which made it impossible
to maintain the facilities. The geological disposal of low level
radioactive waste is now causing ceiling collapse & exacerbating a variety
of problems. W.I.P.P’s radioactive waste inventory is nowhere near as
problematic as the waste inventory that the D.E.C.C is proposing to
‘dispose’ of here in the UK.*
• The first committee on radioactive waste management
CoRWM1 report that endorsed GDFs was heavily caveated and was a
recommendation for *committed wastes only* & *not a proposal for wastes
arising from New Build* where they were very clear that new build wastes
would require a separate investigation and recommendations.
• It is *absolutely not the case* that the GDF research
that informed CoRWM1’s recommendation dealt with issues arising from high
burn up fuel, proposed for the Governments planned new generation of
*A scheme as crucial to the health and safety of our entire nation requires
the full attention of every layer of community and government, and a high
level of public awareness is essential.*
We urge you to consider that the only safe way of tackling the waste is
with the best scientists, geologists and engineers were working in
collaboration with independent experts and lay communities in a
not-for-profit setting. The recent experience of the NMP (Nuclear
Management Partnership) private consortium, who lost their contract at
Sellafield, clearly demonstrates that profit-making and safety do not mix.
*We ask you to halt the plan for GDF’s within the regime of NSIP, which we
feel sit outside of the law, and are not in the best interests of the
United Kingdom, it’s people, land and environments and all future
generations as well as being a clear breach of the Aarhus convention. The
inclusion of GDFs in the list of NSIPs is undemocratic, unlikely to meet
with favourable public opinion and fundamentally un-safe*
Windermere’s Free Paper, Windermere Now has published an anonymous article (pg 8) promoting Moorside and Geological Dumping.
Radiation Free Lakeland are grossly misrepresented as being “Not in My Back Yard” when what we have been consistently saying is NOT IN ANYONE’S BACK YARD.
What would the Lakeland men and women of old think of this? Wordsworth?Ruskin? Beatrix Potter? I think they would be horrified to see such a blasé and toadying attitude to the most extreme and abusive industry.
I think their views would be more akin to Duncan Ball a Sellafield Foreman. Duncan’s poems chronicled the nuclear industry and include one that was read out publicly at the international “Lakes for Living” conference in Windermere.
For nuclear waste growing bigger and hotter
They’re draining the life from Lakeland and Otter
Cooling the poison they’ve shipped from afar
Condemning the Angler and Arctic Char
“What’s the harm? There’s water aplenty!”
Say the loudest mouths with heads near empty,
while for son and daughter the waters spoil
cooling waste in the kettle I fear will boil…”
We have written a reply to the “Woolly Thinker” article – will wait to see if it is published……
A. P. Fraser Harris, C. I. McDermott, O. Kolditz, R. S. Haszeldine
Environ Earth Sci
“Substantial heating reduces fluid density and dynamic viscosity. Groundwater flows upwards through permeable damage zones of high-angle faults and increases natural velocity by 1.5×. Elevated groundwater temperatures are predicted at the surface in just hundreds of years. Travel times for conservative chemical species from the hypothetical repository to the St. Bees Sandstone aquifer are reduced by over one-third if engineered barriers fail at the point of containment, and remain reduced by hundreds of years for particles released thousands of years after containment. ……It is necessary to model heat advection and faults at fractured sites”.
This paper suggests that the UK Government modelling of deep groundwater flow appears to have ignored the heat effects. These would be especially important in a repository where co-disposal of high-level waste and spent fuel is envisaged with intermediate level waste. Remember the Nirex Inquiry turned down the 1997 push for a dump for intermediate level wastes because Cumbria’s geology is too complex, now the plan is for heat generating wastes to be included.
The very clear conclusion from this new independent scientific paper from highly respected Professors is that heat is an extremely important factor to simulate.
It is remarkable that none of the official modelling of radwaste disposal in the UK seems to have included the effect of heat influencing groundwater flow. Extra heat from waste warms the water, and reduces viscosity as well as reducing density.
Consequently, the travel time of groundwater from close to the repository to
reach the overlying aquifers, is reduced from tens of thousands of years to hundreds of years (or less!!!)
Correspondence below with Rheged’s Sarah Dunning . Rheged will once again greenwash the Nuclear Industry’s Low Level Waste Conference despite the increasing and accelerating dumping of radioactive wastes into Cumbrian soil, air and water
Nuclear Industry Low Level Waste Conference at Rheged
Thank you for the quick reply. Your support of hill farming and the artisan food industry is much appreciated and well respected. The nuclear industry’s ambitions are however incompatible with Cumbria’s essential role as provider of good food and essential fresh water to for example Manchester.
To be neutral on this issue is rather like claiming neutrality in the taking of land from the American Indians. Only one side has the power and the weight of unjust newly minted laws and “stakeholder” treaties. Perhaps to even things up the £profits from the Low Level Waste Conference should be given to campaigners? This would enable a counter Low Level Waste Conference at Rheged. One that opposes the dispersal of radioactive wastes to the environment.
In the Lost Kingdom of Rheged our ancestors took time to search for a home with fresh clean water, life giving soil and bountiful seas.
Incredibly on the same day we wrote to you, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities wrote with their opposition to the nuclear industry’s escalating dispersal of wastes to the environment. http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/docs/news/NFLA_UK_LLW_response.pdf“Low-level waste management in the UK is in crisis. The total quantity oflow level radioactive waste existing, or forecast to be created, isgreater than the total amount of existing disposal capacity. Theconstruction and operation of new nuclear power stations will only makematters worse – one of the reasons why NFLA opposes new nuclear build. Theexisting low level waste dump near Sellafield is virtually certain to beeroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast withlarge amounts of radioactive waste at some point over the next few hundredyears.The industry is managing to hide this crisis for the time-being bydispersing radioactive waste around the country. Spreading around the UKradioactive waste previously destined to be disposed of in the engineeredfacility near Sellafield, is liable to increase the UK population‟scollective dose and therefore increase the risk of cancer and other healthproblems.Despite the volumes of LLW likely to arise and the future problems ofcoastal erosion at the existing dump near Sellafield, the Low Level WasteRepository Ltd (LLWR Ltd) hopes to eliminate the need for a secondnational repository and close the existing repository in 2079 bydeveloping new routes for different types of LLW, to enable them to bediverted from the LLWR”.
Cumbria is bearing the poisonous brunt of this dispersal. To give some examples;
Radioactive Scrap Metal – tonnes of it released onto the open market http://www.ccnr.org/essay_radwaste_recycling.pdf Rheged is providing the industry with a respectable greenwash for all this abuse of our land by hosting The Low Level Waste Conference
with best wishes
Marianne Marianne Birkby on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
> Dear Marianne >
> Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate and respect your
> particular line and if it’s ok, I’ll take a moment to explain ours.
> > You are right to say that we are a business with principles. For example,
> we are committed to a particular food approach in our business which > supports the hill farming and artisan food industries. In these instances,
> we work hard to champion these causes and to do what we can to support > these industries. > > There are other industries however, where as a business we take a neutral > position and this is one of those. I fully appreciate this doesn’t > correlate with your own position, but in this instance we may have to > agree to take different lines. > > I hope this clarifies the matter for you. >
> All the best, Sarah Dunning > CEO Westmorland Family >
> Dear Ms Dunning >
> Apologies for the longish letter ( It has been cut down!) > > The Westmorland Family are well known and quite rightly highly respected > for the championing of excellent local food and produce. It was really > surprising therefore to see that Westmorland Family have aligned > themselves so closely with the current agenda of the Nuclear Industry > which is to facilitate production of ever more nuclear wastes and their > dispersal to the environment under the guise of “management.” > > Rheged is to host the Low Level Waste 2015 Conference. This Conference > organised by the Nuclear Institute, the promotional arm of the industry, > sounds innocuous enough. > > For example “Minimising Low Level Waste” sounds great. It sounds as > though the Low Level Waste being produced is to be decreased. The reality > however is that the industry is escalating the dispersal of waste from > existing nuclear sites and has colluded with government to reclassify > wastes as “exempt” meaning that they can be dumped in Cumbrian landfill. >
> Energy Solutions from Utah are subcontracted by Fomento de Contrucciones y > Contratas (FCC) to look after the nuclear aspect of Lillyhall Landfill. > Having engineered the novel dumping of “exempt” waste, in 2010 Energy > Solutions and FCC allowed Sellafield to dump 3 bags of low level and one > bag of intermediate waste into Lillyhall. The cause was a faulty gieger > counter at Sellafield which was discovered by accident. > > There are no checks once the “exempt” waste reaches Lillyhall. Not one > company operating Lillyhall landfill has been prosecuted for allowing > Sellafield to illegally dump 3 bags of low level and one bag of > intermediate waste into the Cumbrian landfill. Lillyhall is a landfill > which was, previous to the 2008 “exempt” law, free of man made nuclear > wastes. > Sellafield WAS fined over Â£700,000 for illegally flytipping into > Lillyhall but of course that money came from the public purse.
> > Following over 100 letters of concern from his constituents, Tony > Cunningham MP for Workington wrote to Secretary of State, Ed Davey asking > why the operators of Lillyhall had not been prosecuted while Sellafield > has. The reply from Ed Davey (attached) is alarming: > “It is important to note that the Environment Agency did not take > enforcement action against Waste Recycling Group (WRG) Limited (operators > of the landfill at the time.) This was because WRG Limited did not > knowingly breach its environmental permit”. > > In that case every Tom, Dick and Harry could say they never knowingly > breached permits. And in this case Energy Solutions are supposed to be the > last line of defence preventing illegal nuclear flytipping.
> > Also concerning is that the Secretary of State, Ed Davey’s facts are plain > wrong – he tells Tony Cunningham MP that Waste Recyling Group were > operators of the landfill at the time (of the illegal nuclear > flytipping). > FCC took over Waste Recycling Group in 2006, the illegal nuclear > flytipping took place in 2010. > > The government’s pro nuclear agenda needs these nuclear privateers > attending the Rheged Low Level Waste Conference to continue to carry out > “decommissioning.” Or in other words to disperse radioactive waste to the > environment, clearing the decks for the production of ever more waste. > > Lillyhall, previously nuclear free, is now classed as a radioactive waste > dump with emissions to land, groundwater and air.
The already dangerous > practice of dumping in landfill is made even more dangerous by Energy > Solutions having allowed Sellafield to dump higher activity waste. The > non-prosecution of Energy Solutions and their contractors FCC sends out > the message that companies involved in nuclear waste are like mafia, > untouchable. This message is endorsed by the Westmorland Family and > others who should be making a stand against the fast escalating > nuclearisation of Cumbria. The landfill operators Energy Solutions and > FCC have got off not only scot free but with a license to dump a further 1 > million cubic metres or more of radioactive rubble into the landfill’s > “spare” capacity. > > > Please hand the money back and refuse the use of Rheged as a venue for > this contrick of a shindig and conference. As long as the industry > insists on novel ways of dumping waste into the environment instead of > containing it on existing sites, the Low Level Waste Conference is a means > to poison us all.
> > 55 Years ago the then President of America, John F Kennedy said: > “Radiation, in its simplest terms – figuratively, literally and chemically > – is poison. there is no amount of radiation so small that it has no ill > effects at all on anybody. There is, actually no such thing as a minimum > permissible dose.” > > Yours sincerely,
> > Marianne Birkby > On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
My week in the UK was exciting and full of surprises. I spoke to hundreds of people in London and Cumbria who are committed to a new energy future for Europe. They know that the dated model of big business centralized electricity production is ending, and they see a clean, disaster free viable alternative in locally distributed generation. Still, it seems that the established British utilities are so fixated on nuclear power that they just offered to charge their customers twice the current market price for electricity for the next 35-years, so that a French nuclear company could build a fancy and untried new nuclear design at Hinkley Point.
The United Kingdom is anything but united when it comes to how it will produce electricity in the 21st century! Britain has experienced the dangers of nuclear power first hand as the site of the world’s first major nuclear disaster at Windscale, receiving huge amounts of contamination from Chernobyl fallout in Wales, and contaminating the Irish Sea with Plutonium at its waste reprocessing plant at Sellafield. With that background, I understand why the citizens of the UK embrace a nuclear free future. When I spoke at the House of Commons, it was clear that only a minority of the MP’s (like US Representatives) could envision an energy future different than the past. Similar to the US, the financially influential electric power monopolies have convinced a majority of the MPs that there is no alternative to nuclear power.
Thankfully, many people in the UK disagree and see a nuclear free future! Surprisingly, it was in Cumbria that I saw the most poignant reminder of how dangerous nuclear power is. There in the fog and rain stood “Cockcroft’s Folly”, a ventilation stack on the old Windscale reactor. Filters on that stack, thankfully, captured most of the radiation released during the 1957 Windscale catastrophe. When Windscale was under construction, Sir John Cockcroft, a great engineer and Nobel Prize winner, insisted that filters be added to the ventilation stack. The British nuclear establishment laughed at him, but he was unyielding and persisted in his cause until the filters were added to Windscale. Naysayers nicknamed the filters “Cockcroft’s Folly”, and no one believed they were necessary.
Then came the Windscale nuclear core fire and those “unnecessary” filters saved thousands of lives. Too contaminated even now to be removed, “Cockcroft’s Folly” stands in the middle of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant, part of a more than $60 Billion cleanup planned for the neighboring stretch of coastline along the contaminated the Irish Sea. Three new AP1000 reactors are proposed to be built in Cumbria within sight of “Cockcroft’s Folly”. Since 2010, I have repeatedly said that the AP1000 design suffers the same design flaw as the old Windscale reactor. Like Sir John, I believe that filters must be added to the top of the AP1000 shield building to prevent huge amounts of radiation from being released during a meltdown. I call this problem “the chimney effect” and wrote a paper about it entitled “ Nuclear Containment Failures- Ramifications for the AP1000 Containment Design”. The Independent, a major newspaper in the UK, courageously wrote about my concerns with the headline: Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen warns of ‘Chernobyl on steroids’ risk in UK from proposed Cumbria plant . Fairewinds received hundreds of tweets praising that story, and as can be expected, some of the 20th century paradigm pro-nukes pushed back, attacking my credibility. Sir John Cockcroft must be spinning in his grave, wondering “When will they ever learn?”
Shockingly the Daily Mail is the ONLY paper to expose this – and even that with a somewhat neutered letter on the Letters Page…the original sent to all press is below
Nuclear Waste Scandal
In the last gasp of Parliament before the election, something momentous
and awful happened but who knew?
Who knew that our government had asked MPs to vote to make nuclear waste
dumps Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects? There was no debate
or even vote in the lobbies of the Commons, voting was done by filling in
a form. MPs voted 277 votes to 33 to dump democracy. Big NGO’s and the
press have played their part by their silence.
The normal checks and balances of democracy are wiped away by undemocratic
NSIP. Normal rules of planning protections are voided by NSIP. There would
be no public inquiry and no meaningful scrutiny or debate from full
The fig leaf of “positive test of public support” (still to be decided
upon by government!) would be followed by the final decision being made by
the Secretary of State.
There is a predetermined government agenda to “implement geological
disposal.” The UK government (in England only!) has signed up to
“implement geological disposal” and realistically only nuclear compliant
Cumbria is in the frame as nuclear patsy.
If our grandfathers’ and grandmothers’ had gone along with the dumping of
heat generating radioactive wastes deep under Cumbria would I now be
sitting at a desk in Cumbria drinking a glass of water and writing about
it? Many scientists and geologists have good reason to think not. They
have good reason to think that geological ‘disposal’ does not work.
Keeping heat generating nuclear wastes isolated from the biosphere is the
biggest challenge for mankind. The ruthless undemocratic push for
“implementation of geological disposal” is however a means to make ever
more nuclear wastes (useful only for weapons) by falsely promising “a
final solution.” “The final solution” of geological dumping of heat
generating nuclear wastes is now officially open for all manner of
corruption and can now be forced on Cumbria …but who knew?
On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
Well that’s it folks, nuclear waste dumps are now nationally significant infrastructure projects. The decision has been taken away from the local authorities and placed in the hands of the secretary of state and is now wide open for corruption. The chance for intense scrutiny and public accountability has gone. It will be boreholes a-go-go (no doubt keeping the fracking industry quite happy as well), while they look for a good place to dump their responsibility to the next generation and beyond.
Of course, they may have already found the spot they want in Cumbria and this legislation will allow them to claim it. The party at NuGen et al., and all the weapons manufacturers must be in full swing this evening, they now have carte blanche to generate as much waste as they please. Apparently there will be a ‘positive test of community support’ before a GDF is built. We are still waiting to hear what this will be. I’ve tweeted Amber Rudd (@AmberRuddMP) and Baroness Verma (@DECCgovuk) about it but haven’t heard back. Perhaps you will have better luck than me? Nearly 40,000 people expressed their distaste at government’s plans to frack under their homes without their permission, and were soundly ignored. What chance do you think your community has of being genuinely represented in this ‘positive test’?
Other government departments have in the past defined ‘community’ as potentially a single landowner (UKOOG). Let’s face it there’s always one morally defunct ne’er do well who would sell their own granny for a buck! Trying to keep up with the sublimely ridiculously parliamentary procedures has been exhausting. Delegated legislation, affirmative instruments, motions to consider, withdraw, statutory instrument committees, deferred divisions..bla bla bla. NOWHERE in this process were our elected MPs given the chance to debate this crucial issue. It’s only the safety of your drinking water being decided in small committee rooms, as under the radar as humanly possible, by committee members appointed by party whips. Democracy isn’t on its knees, its face down in the mud. There are a few good guys in this sorry tale. We were lucky to have Duncan Hames on the initial committee to speak up against the order. Then a few MPs were there to say ‘nay’ when they tried to secure approval whilst everyone was distracted by budget day. This meant that a vote was forced for the following week, which we lost 277-33. Silver linings though, 33 MPs said no potentially incurring the wrath of the party whip and the industry. So good on them! Considering only 53 voted for the fracking moratorium and the weight behind that campaign, that’s not a terrible show. We salute these brave people who are sticking to their principles and focusing on protecting their constituents rather than climbing the greasy pole. Tim Farron has been a vocal opponent of the order, but he was not present for the vote. Strangely, Jamie Reed MP for Copeland and former Sellafield PR man voted against the order. We didn’t see that one coming!
277 turned up to vote aye. Imagine how much wining and dining went on there. We could just about stretch to a pasty from Greggs!
In the final moments of the conservative/lib dem coalition they have ensured their nuclear dump legacy will continue into the next government, whoever that will be. There are some lib dem good guys out there, but during my research into mps to lobby I was disheartened to see how many had done a U turn on their opinions on nuclear power after coming to government. Perhaps they have bought into the ‘green nuclear’ fallacy, or perhaps they are towing the party line. There is cross party support on this issue that is widely reviled by normal folk when they hear about it, and now those people don’t even have their local councillors to fall back on.
Awareness of this legislation was extremely low. Only 719 responded to the consultation, 530 of them individuals or societies. Again, compare this to the fracking consultation mentioned previously that garnered 40,000 responses. Surely there should have been a similar awareness raising campaign for radioactive waste facilities? Why wasn’t David Cameron telling us he was ‘all out for nuke dumping’? Perhaps because he didn’t want you to notice? We’ve lost this battle, but we will win the war.
We may not have a legislative system on our side or a corporate bank roll, but we do have common sense and people power. We will not take this lying down.
NOW WE HAVE TILL WEDNESDAY 25th MARCH TO LOBBY COUNCILLORS- MPS – ALERT THE PRESS, CONSERVATION GROUPS, NGOS
– ASK why the wall of silence?-
MANY THANKS to everyone who emailed, tweeted and rang their MPs at such short notice. The Order was about to be passed through as “delegated legislation” this means that there is a presumption to pass the Order uncontested in a back room by Parliamentary Committee. The lobbying action by Radiation Free Lakeland and No Nuke Dumping has helped ensure that “a select group of independently minded Lib Dem and Labour MPs have objected” to the Order to class a Geological Disposal Facility as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. As some MPs said “nay” (remember this is almost unprecedented) a VOTE HAS BEEN TRIGGERED IN THE COMMONS NEXT WEDNESDAY 25th MARCH 2015.
MANY THANKS TO THOSE MPS WHO STOOD UP AND SAID “NAY”
Now we have just a week to warn our locally elected Councillors that their Democratic Planning Authority regarding the dumping of radioactive waste is about to be stolen away with no fanfare or fuss. Please lobby MPs, NGOs, Conservation Groups, The Press and anyone else you can think of. Write letters to the press – do something!
This is deliberately shifting sand that even the lawyers are unsure of. But what we do know is that government is trying to quietly push law that will ensure the hard won local planning protections (Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Conservation Areas etc) and our democratic mandate cannot be used to reject geological dumping of nuclear wastes. At the same time the government is claiming that the “implementation of geological disposal” will be participatory with a “test of public support.” We have already had some experience of how government has manipulated data to pretend support for geological dumping and expect this “test” will be more of the same.
We know that all the “Radioactive Waste Management” roads lead to new-build justification and the production of more wastes.
This is what the local government lawyers Bircham Dyson Bell say about the plan:
“Of course this isn’t a random extension to the regime, the government has in mind the creation of one such facility, likely to be in Cumbria. It tried before but in January 2013 the project was vetoed by Cumbria County Council. It’s trying again and for obvious reasons has removed the ability for a county council to veto the process, and the process is also much more measured and supported with technical information.
Even if there is only one site that gets to the stage of a borehole, there should be at least two NSIPs – one for the borehole (and possibly more) and then one for the facility itself.