Beware of the Bull on World Cancer Day

Information from Jean McSorley’s excellent book: Living in the Shadow


It was World Cancer Day yesterday.  Supporters of a Radiation Free Lakeland went along to Workington to collect signatures on a letter to the director of Public Health in Cumbria.  The letter asked Colin Cox for a reply to the hundreds of letters already written questioning the government’s assertion that the influx of construction workers for Drigg, Calder Hall and Sellafield has caused the “excess” (up to 10X the national average) cancers in Cumbria.  As one person put it to me : “so does this mean that the government  is saying it is  workers coming into build cancer factories that has made a virus causing cancer rather than the cancer factories themselves”   Quite.  The “virus” of course is a “mystery virus.”

We have asked Colin Cox if he A.  Agrees with government that population mixing is the cause of the “excess” of childhood leukaemia in areas of Cumbria


B. Agrees with Nuclear power pioneer Dr John Gofman that “Licensing a nuclear power plant is random premeditated murder ….the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest (radiation) doses”

When we asked Colin Cox this question back in May 2016 we recieved the dismissive reply below:

“Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding health risks arising from “population mixing” during the development of Moorside power station in West Cumbria. I am the Chair of the Moorside Health Impact Assessment Steering Group. Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a rigorous approach to identifying and mitigating any health risks, and identifying and maximising any health gains, arising from this development. At its meeting this morning, the steering group agreed that the issue of population mixing will be considered within the overall HIA. The HIA is due to be completed by the end of this year. I will not be making any public comment on this matter before this process is complete. I hope this information is helpful.

Regards, Colin Cox

Colin Cox Director of Public Health Cumbria County Council The Courts Carlisle CA3 8NA”

Sellafield – “Beware of the Bull”

After speaking to people in Workington yesterday and collecting more signatures to add to the hundreds already sent to the Director of Public Health, we went for a walk.

Later, six of us walked the length of the Moorside site from St Bridgets Church, Beckermet to Sellafield.  We didnt have any banners or even rucksacks, we were dressed for eg.going for a stroll round Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top farm.  Nevertheless we were stopped twice by armed police on a public path and cyclepath.  The first encounter was with two police on foot who caught us up as we were walking away from Sellafield on a public footpath.  They asked a few times what we were doing – When we asked why would they want to know that we had been to look at the plaque remembering the Windscale fire, they replied “because of the world situation.”   We all thought – ‘so you want to make the world situation worse by doubling Sellafield?’  – but we didnt say it.    One of the people with us was a journalist.  Journalists have the right to go about their business unhindered by the police – the police still took his details though.   On the way back as we neared Old St Bridgets Church at Beckermet there was a police 4WD blocking the route.  This was different police who said “I believe you have talked to our colleagues”  these police seemed a bit more narky and asked another one of our group for their name – they refused.   The Civil Nuclear Police are ALREADY treating Moorside like a licensed nuclear installation and intimidating people.  Some of the ancient footpaths across this land of ancient historic significance have already been trashed, for example the remnant of Sellafield Tarn and the Tarn Cottage are now inaccessible.    How far this militaristic shadow (guarding cancer factories “population mixing” or radioactive emissions!!!)  spreads across Cumbria is up to us all #StopMoorside

“Moorside “- Biggest Nuclear Devlopment in Europe is proposed on the River Ehen Floodplain


Jamie Reed from the Archives….

In the light of the news that Jamie Reed is to take a job with Sellafield – we ask: did he ever leave?

The following is from our blog posted back in February 2013 ……..the revolving doors are corrupting any illusion of democracy in this Nuclear Dystopia.

Cumbria’s JR :contracts were made to be broken!

JR Jamie Reed MP

JR Ewing
JR Ewing

What’s the difference between the fictional character JR Ewing and Cumbria’s own JR Jamie Reed MP? Both it seems have a penchant for “contracts made to be broken.” For the last 5 years and more Jamie Reed MP and Copeland Borough Council Leader Elaine Woodburn have been telling Cumbrians to put our “trust” in the MRWS process. Now it appears that process wasn’t half dodgy enough as Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet has used reason and gone against the grain of the “steps towards geological disposal” by delivering a strong NO.

Radiation Free Lakeland have been pointing out for several years that Cumbria is being stitched up like a radioactive kipper with “groomed” leaders being put into positions to groom the Cumbrian population into accepting a geological dump and new build.

This evidence for “grooming” is found in the Nirex 2004 report presumably commissioned by or with the blessing of the Labour Government (remember Gordon Brown’s brother and EDF?). The 2004 Nirex report outlined how to achieve an about face in Cumbria with councils having refused NIREX in
1997 being persuaded to volunteer for an even bigger and more dangerous dump.

Just a few examples of the leaders being put into place over the last
decade are:

Jamie Reed former BNFL press officer becomes MP for Copeland in 2005 the year following the NIREX ‘Cumbria in groom’ 2004 report

Eric Robson Chair of Cumbria Tourism, also Chair of the Wainwright Society, also part owner of Osprey Communications who provided PR for the ironically named Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely. No need to wonder why Cumbria Tourism has said nothing until the 11th hour and then a meaningless statement that they would object should it go to the next phase.

Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, making famously pronuclear statements even before his ordination in 2009

Lord Chris Smith – 2007 appointed Chair of the Advertising Standards Authority, Chair of the Environment Agency in 2008, also chair of the Wordsworth Trust. Chris Smith has told me himself of his pronuclear sympathies.

Lord David Clark – pro nuclear/pro dump Chair of the Lake District National Park Partnership –also non-executive director of Sellafield. Again no need to look very far to see why the LDNPA has been so complicit with very late in the day mealy mouthed opposition.

Government is attempting to keep Cumbria wagged by the pronuclear tail. While more and more people are waking up to this fact we are under increasing threat of ever more propaganda with the government now putting together a consortium of marketing companies to “more than ease concerns.”

Thank goodness there are still democratically elected leaders out there with functioning critical faculties like Eddie Martin whose speech to Cabinet was thoroughly researched and so hair raisingly good he got a standing ovation. The Leader of Cumbria County Council has refused to prostitute
Cumbria’s soul. Now Cumbria’s body needs to be protected. The next steps of our leaders now are critical. Instead of trying to force an unacceptable geological dump, Leaders such as Jamie Reed MP should now be lobbying government to ensure the government’s commitment to its own MRWS
process is honoured by respecting the Cabinet’s NO. Our leaders should lobby Government to put all available monies and expertise into ensuring that the “intolerable conditions” of the Sellafield site are made safe by long term ‘interim’ storage and to acknowledge that there is no “final disposal” of nuclear waste. A good start would be to ban reprocessing, a practice banned in every country apart from France and England as it produces higher level wastes so difficult to contain.

Nirex 2004 report oct04 – on strategy for influencing its image (text searchable)

Jamie Reed MP vows to break a contract

Guest Blog: Why the Nuclear Industry is Killing Off the Human Race by John Urquhart

Documentary from 1983.  Sellafield is still reprocessing and will continue to do so for as long as it can get away with it.


A Guest Blog by John Urquhart


When Gallileo pointed out that the Roman Catholic Church’s model of the universe was flawed, i.e the sun did not go around the earth, he was shown the instruments of torture. Now if anyone questions the current scientific paradigm that radiation is safe, their research grants are at risk so everyone who has any academic standing keeps quiet about the real relationship between nuclear power and radiation. No, it is not that nuclear power plants kill off large numbers of people, but that the dominant health paradigm used by the nuclear industry to engineer their continuing existence that important philosophies are steam rolled out of existence. In a sense, it didn’t matter whether the sun went around the earth or the earth went around the sun because either way we could have got rockets to the moon but it does matter if the nuclear industry subverts the scientific process and smothers key genetic and biological arguments. The ‘leukaemia cluster’ at Sellafield was not a cluster in the classic sense because the tenfold excess occurred over a period of 30 years. That in itself should make us very suspicious of any virus theory, since disease epidemics arise and fall in relatively short periods of time.

Unfortunately the apologists for the nuclear industry are playing with too few pieces of information and indeed some of the key data was deliberately withheld. For example, the official UK statistics for childhood leukaemia at the time of Chernobyl were completely distorted and it wasn’t until 2001 that the correct figures were represented. When these are analysed it can be seen that the birth cohort of 1985/86 and 1987/88 both showed a 50% increase over the datum level of 100. Analysis of leukaemia cases for children under 3 years of age demonstrated this effect.. This double peak suggests that two mechanisms were at work associated with Chernobyl. The cohort born in 85/86 was under 12 months when exposed to Chernobyl fall out and was much more sensitive to its effects, whereas the cohort born in 87/88 was the product of fathers exposed to Chernobyl fall out in May 1986. This is a double hypothesis, which fits in with the pattern of leukaemia cases observed around Sellafield, namely a genetic response associated with excess radiation in Sellafield workers and a trigger response associated with exposure of sensitised children from radiation when inhaling or ingesting hot particles from the Seascale beaches.

This combination of increased genetic sensitivity and exposure to increased radiation also explains the KKK German study, which demonstrated an excess of under-5 leukaemia in children born within 5km of German nuclear power plants. Even more astonishing is the dramatic DROP in under-3 leukaemia rates in England and Wales in the cohort born in 1975/76. The western regions of the UK comprising north-west Wales and south west experienced an 80% drop in that cohort. In other words, neither the genetic or trigger causes seem to be present for that cohort. The only rational explanation for the drop so far is that natural radioactive washout over the 1975/76 period did not occur because of the prolonged drought. Nevertheless, natural background radiation levels, even in wash out, are well below acceptable levels for radiation, as pronounced by current models so it is necessary to look at an alternative model to explain the link or rather the lack of it between natural background exposure and a dearth of leukaemia cases. The hypothesis is that it is not the cumulative amount of radiation received by an individual that is important but the rate of radiation received at particular times and that this range of radiation is best expressed not by exposure to external gamma radiation, but the inhalation of radioactive particles associated with this washout phenomenon. For the past 25 years I have been a member of ARGUS, an independent radiation fallout monitoring group with sensors covering the whole of the UK and measuring radioactive levels every ten minutes. On several occasions, the background radiation has risen by 50% – at least 4 standard deviations above normal – and we have associated these increases with acid rain fallout, whereby ceramic particles in the pollution cloud act not only as hydroscopic phoci but also attract radioactive fallout, including polonium 210. We propose that the heightened gamma levels we observed are associated with high levels of beta and alpha washout and it is the alpha and beta particles that create the potential leukaemia risk. But this story is not just about leukaemia. If natural background radiation, or lack of it, can have such a major influence on childhood leukaemia levels, then this would suggest that it is also responsible not just for radiation exposure but genomic instability, which can be defined as increasing the propensity of the human genome to create spontaneous mutations in future generations.

Over the past 70 years, the nuclear industry has consistently played down the biological and genetic impact of radiation by referring to the relatively small doses compared with natural background radiation but the epidemiological evidence we have shows that certain cancers, background radiation or lack of it, can have a major impact but only at certain times when the rate of radiation is dramatically increased through washout. By the same token, the real risk from living near nuclear facilities is not the recorded accumulation of dose but the transient changes in levels, which overwhelm the body’s natural defences at the time – the so called ‘sunbed syndrome’. By maintaining a very simplified version of radiation risk the nuclear industry is condemning the human race to a level of scientific ignorance, which in the long run may lead to our extinction by not acknowledging the real drivers of biological and genetic change.












Ellie de Cordova lived at Whitehaven, nine miles away from the nuclear reprocessing plant of Sellafield. At the age of four, she died of leukaemia, a type of cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. Eighteen other children within 20 miles of Sellafield have also developed leukaemia. Now their parents are united to sue British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. They explain why in our special feature.

Nineteen children living with 20 miles of the Sellafield nuclear plant have developed leukaemia, a cancer affecting their blood and bone marrow. In a few weeks’ time their parents will begin proceedings to sue British Nuclear Fuels for compensation. If they win, it will make legal history. Four of these families have told their story exclusively to the Observer. Report by Alison Whyte and Annabel Ferriman. Photographs by Christopher Pillitz.

Lyn Marr knew something was seriously wrong with her five-year-old son Ronald when the hospital specialist and her GP came to visit her at home. Ronald had been to the hospital for tests because of pains in his legs and a terrible lethargy that would not go away.

“We knew something was the matter. Usually you go to see the doctor, the doctor doesn’t come to see you. It was such a shock. Cancer goes right through you. You hear of a thing, but if it doesn’t concern you, you put it to the back of your mind. But when it is happening to you and our child, it hits you right in the face.”

At first Mrs Marr was convinced that she had given her child the disease, which turned out to be acute lymphatic leukaemia because she was a smoker. “But I asked the doctors and they said it had nothing to do with it.”

Then, last July, three months after Ronald had been diagnosed, a friend saw an advert in the local newspaper, the Whitehaven News. It said: “If your child suffered or is suffering from leukaemia, if you live in the surrounding area of Sellafield and if you are interested in making a claim against British Nuclear Fuels, why not telephone us?”

It started Lynne Marr thinking. The Marr family live in Workington, 15 miles up the coast from Sellafield, the huge nuclear reprocessing plant and reactor complex in west Cumbria, which has been the centre of controversy ever since it, was built in the early 1950’s. Her husband also called Ronald had worked at BNFL as a building contractor. “I started wondering what he might have brought home on his clothes.”

She also started to remember how Ronald had played on the beach as a toddler and how just nine months after he was born, in November 1983, Sellafield had suffered one of the worst leaks of radiation in its history. “It was in all the papers.” Says his father. “Other kids who played down there got burns on their skin.”

Lynn Marr phoned the number given in the advertisement. It belonged to Martyn Day, a London solicitor who had been representing 10 families of Sellafield workers seeking compensation. Martyn Day had been involved in radiation work for four years, ever since, as a specialist in accident and injury work, he had been invited by Labour MP Frank Cook to join the Radiation Victims Round Table, an organisation of lawyers, doctors and scientists, set up to advance the cause of radiation sufferers.

At that time in 1984, only two groups of victims had been identified: workers in the nuclear industry and those who had been exposed to radiation when Britain tested its first nuclear bomb. But scientists and doctors had begun worrying that people who simply lived near a nuclear reprocessing plant, such as Sellafield, could somehow be affected.

Sellafield and the Suffering Children.jpg

Their fears had been raised by the findings of a Yorkshire Television documentary in 1983 called “Windscale: the Nuclear Laundry” which showed that the incidence of childhood leukaemia- a cancer which affects the white cells in the blood and bone marrow was 10 times higher around Windscale (later renamed Sellafield) than the national average. This ‘excess’ of leukaemia’s was confirmed in 1984 by the Black committee, although that committee did not know the cause and that it could be due to coincidence.

But when the report came from the government appointed Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) was published last year, the situation changed. The committee concluded that “some feature’ of the plant contributed to an increased risk of leukaemia to young people living nearby.


The statement by the committee chairman Martin Bobrow, a paediatrician from Guy’s hospital that “the burden of proof had shifted – the leukaemia cases must be assumed to be connected with the nuclear plants until proven otherwise” was the strongest indication yet that there was a case to answer.


“When I read the COMARE report last June, I realised the whole ball game had changed” said Martyn Day. “That was when I decided to act.” He put a small advertisement in the Whitehaven News thinking he would be contacted by two or three families. In the event 22 families contacted him within a few days and another eight families since. Day visited all the families included the Marrs, within the space of a week. “Most of them were bemused and suspicious at first. They weren’t quite sure what was going on, but they keen to look into it. They did not want to put themselves through even more suffering. I explained the science, the legal procedure of making a claim, and why I thought there was a reasonable chance of winning the case. Quite a nuclear said they were glad the case would get a full public airing.”


From the start it was quite apparent that the battle was going to be of major proportions. If Day wins, it will make legal history. Although Sellafield workers have previously taken legal action against British Nuclear Fuels, no one who lives in the vicinity of the plant has done so. The company acknowledges that it has paid out £500,000 to widows and dependents of 17 workers in the past 30 years but it has never paid out anything to anyone just living nearby. BNFL has always refused to admit liability.


The first step for Day was to try to get legal aid for the victims but even this proved difficult because of objections by BNFL. He applied on behalf of his client last August, and was told by the Law Society in October that, in principle, there should be nothing to stop them getting aid. The Society just had to look into the financial circumstances of each client to see if they qualified.


Then, two months later, solicitors for BNFL wrote to the Law Society saying that the applicants didn’t have a case and therefore should not be granted legal aid. In February, Days clients were informed that their applications had been rejected. Day appealed against the decision and finally in March 18 out of the 30 families heard that they had been successful. (Of the others, some did not qualify for financial reasons, some dropped out and some are still waiting to hear.) The first hurdle had been surmounted.


The next step was deciding where to start. Day wants to begin with three or four children as test cases. A group of scientists are examining the details of each of the families to decide which is most suitable. One of these experts is Professor Edward Radford, who has advised the US government on the effects of radiation and who has studies its effects on Hiroshima survivors.


“We are considering three main factors – how close the families live to Sellafield, whether they live on the coast and whether a parent has worked at the plant.” Says Radford. “Although BNFL does careful monitoring of workers clothes, there have been documented cases of contaminated workers leaving the plant.”


Twenty of the families who contacted Martyn Day live within a 15-mile radius of Sellafield. The others live up to 50 miles away. A total of 22 of the 30 children, whose ages range from four to twenty are still alive. Most of the children have acute lymphatic leukaemia – acute myeloid leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


It is thought that there may be three “pathways” from the nuclear site to childhood leukaemia. First through discharges of radioactivity into the environment, affecting the population directly or ending up in food and drink. Secondly, through the irradiation of adults, whose genes are damaged leading to an increased tendency among their offspring to develop cancer. Thirdly direct exposure of children to radioactivity brought home by their parents on their bodies or clothes.


Although COMARE pointed the finger at Sellafield, it was unable to explain how the plant could have caused the leukaemias, because according to available estimates, levels from radioactivity from Sellafield were too low to cause the disease.


But COMARE’s work was given added weight by the findings of a study by the Medical Research Council and the Imperial Cancer Research Foundation in March this year, which discovered clusters of childhood leukaemia (that is abnormally high rates) around some 15 nuclear installations. It may be that either the official estimates of the emissions are too low, or that lower levels of radiation than was previously believed can cause leukaemia. But clusters of leukaemia cases pose a puzzle for scientists because they do also occur in areas unaffected by the nuclear industry.


Once it is decided which cases to start with, writs will be issued against BNFL, probably during this summer, and the due legal process will begin. Truckloads of evidence will be exchanged between the two sides and the cases are not expected to reach the Royal Courts of Justice inside two to three years.


Some of the families who work at Sellafield wish to avoid publicity. Others like the Marrs, the de Cordovas, the Beatties and the Colemans are willing to speak about why they are prepared to sue BNFL.


“I want to know if it is Sellafield that is causing these cases of leukaemia and if it is, I want it to be made safer so that other kiddies do not have to go through what mine is going through” says Lynn Marr. “It has taken away his childhood.”


Treatment started for Ronald the day after he was diagnosed. He was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne and was started on chemotherapy (drug treatment). He was in and out of hospital for months but now, a year later is home most of the time. Lynn Marr had to give up her job in a shop to look after her son (the Marrs have two other children, grown up daughters.) “Ronald is not the little lad I know” she says “Before he had leukaemia he was loving. Now he’s bitter. He’ll say “Its your fault and I hate you” This treatment has to go on for another year and then we won’t know for three to five years after that whether he is cured.”


Another family willing to speak out are the de Cordovas whose daughter Ellie died of leukaemia at the age of four, almost three years ago. They object to the secrecy which they believe surrounds the plant. They consider that BNFL runs the local borough like a company town.


“Sellafield affects every company here one way or another. They act as if they owned the place” says Phil de Cordova, a fitter with British Steel. “I think they are nitpicking with the statistics about leukaemia.”


Mr de Cordova’a views are echoed by many others who live in the area. The secrecy surrounding the plant meant that the serious nature of the fire there in 1957 – considered the worst nuclear accident in the world until Chernobyl – was not revealed until 26 years later, when the National Radiological Protection Board admitted that the radiation released then could have caused up to 33 deaths.


Between 1976 and 1982 and since 1987 the nuclear industry has been required to make public every incident that occurs. As a result, an alarming nuclear of incidents and leaks have been revealed. BNFL produced a list of 1777 incidents that took place between 1950 and 1976 for the Windscale Inquiry in 1977.


But Sellafield is the economic centre of west Cumbria, providing 14,000 jobs in an area with a working population of only 32,000. The company estimates that around 25,000 people in west Cumbria are economically dependent on it. So although it sucks in 1000 tonnes of spent reactor fuel each year and pumps out at least a million gallons of contaminated water every day into the Irish Sea, most families will not speak out against it.


It has even become, surprising, one of the country’s fastest growing tourist attractions, pulling in 150,000 tourists last year. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) provide a focus for the opposition but the organisation is still small.

Sellafield - Sued by Parents.png

The dependency of the local community on Sellafield was one of the main problems that Martyn Day thought he would have to contend with. He feels that the climate is now changing. “My experience has been that the area surrounding Sellafield is like a company town, but the response to the advertisement shows that people are now more prepared to challenge BNFL than previously.” The other crucial factor in the case will be the judges ruling on whether to accept medical probability as the standard of proof. The cases will be brought under Section Seven of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. This provides a liability on plants such as Sellafield to compensate any person who can show that they have suffered personal injury as a result of radioactive emissions. “We will be out to prove that, on the balance of probabilities, using all available statistical and epidemiological evidence, Sellafield is a cause or a partial cause of leukaemia in our clients.” Day says.


British Nuclear Fuels believes that Day does not have a hope of winning. Jake Kelly, Media Relations Manager at BNFL points out that the COMARE report was unable to explain how the plant could have caused the leukaemia. “We are quite convinced that if we go to court we will win this case, because if you can’t establish a cause, how can you lay blame? The radioactive emissions from this plant are no way high enough to cause leukaemia.”


Kelly can’t understand why BNFL is still seen as secretive. “There is no doubt that during the first 30 years of the industry there were some very complacent and arrogant scientists,” he says. “We have always been open, but we have never been seen to be open. I put it down to the fact that we are never able to separate in people’s minds the military and civil use of nuclear power. The public have got to make up their minds what they want. If Sellafield goes down, you might as well build a wall around west Cumbria and forget all about it.”


If Day’s clients do win, they stand to gain between £10,000 and £250,000 each. It’s not the money that motivates them, however according to Day: It is BNFL’s refusal to acknowledge openly even the possibility of a link between Sellafield and childhood leukaemias. “For my clients the money is not really relevant. It’s the principle that counts. If there was a degree of recognition from British Nuclear Fuels that they may be causing these problems I don’t think they would be facing this court case today.”


Ellie de Cordova age 4

“The gap she has left doesn’t get filled”


Phil and Chris de Cordova came to west Cumbria five years ago, first to Egremont, four miles from Sellafield and then to Whitehaven, nine miles north on the coast. Phil was unemployed but now works as a fitter for British Steel. Chris is a teacher at a local junior school. Their daughter Ellie who suffered from acute lymphatic leukaemia, died in 1986 at the age of four. The de Cordovas have two other children, Olivia, 19 months and Ralph, 6 months. They have applied for legal aid and are awaiting the result. “Ellie was a fit and healthy child when she came to Whitehaven” says Chris. “About two months later she had a viral illness and just didn’t seem to pick up. As she crept towards her third birthday she was getting more lethargic and pale. We took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed on her birthday. It was “Happy Birthday Ellie, Today you are three and today you have leukaemia.” We were in a state of shock for a couple of weeks. But the doctor said they were making great strides every day towards a breakthrough so we never really had any doom and gloom about it.


“Two years later Ellie died a week before her fifth birthday. A child of that age doesn’t have any fear of death. She had known other children who had leukaemia, another child at my junior school has it and Ellie had a friend, Robert who died from leukaemia just a year before she did. We took her to his funeral. She likened it to a beetle being dead: “you stamp on a beetle and its finished.” She said. She knew that Robert was finished and his “thinking” was going to Jesus. She was quite happy with that. “The gap she has left doesn’t get filled. We like to include Ellie in our lives. Just because she is not there in person doesn’t mean that we want to exclude her.”


“I think that there must be a connection with Sellafield and some types of leukaemia: I don’t honestly see any other explanation for the clusters around Sellafield and Dounreay. I am not in principle opposed to nuclear power, but they should tighten up their controls because we are still hearing of leaks. Only last week there was another. But you daren’t say anything against Sellafield because people see it as a threat to their jobs.”


Children Poisoned by Sellafield.jpg

Sarah Beattie age 7

“We could see her wasting away


Sarah Beattie is seven and has acute lymphatic leukaemia. At the time Sara was conceived her father was working at BNFL’s nuclear dump at Drigg, four miles south of Sellafield. During the pregnancy the Beatties lived in Whitehaven. Now the family have moved to Mealsgate, about 20 miles away. They have been offered legal aid.


Susan Beattie recalls: “Sara became ill in December 1086, when she was four. She was such a big fit girl – it was only us that could see her wasting away. She had pains everywhere and she didn’t eat anything. We took her to hospital and they thought she was depressed, so they put her in the psychiatric ward. Nine weeks later she was diagnosed. We were relieved because they had found something: for two months we’d been saying, “what are we going to do if she dies?” There followed a grim period of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and injections to the spine during which time Sarah twice lost her hair. “I cried one night and just got it all out of my system” John Beattie says. “We are not out of the woods yet,” says Susan. “Anything could happen. The longer you go clear, the more hope you have. You know that if she gets poorly again, it will be a lot worse. But she is great now.”


Susan Beattie was disturbed when she heard that BNFL had paid compensation to some families of Sellafield workers who had died from cancer. “If Sellafield can cause cancer in people who work there, what reason has BNFL got to say it isn’t affecting people around?” We are going ahead with this not only for ourselves, but for everybody else. Quite a few families are connected with Sellafield through work and they don’t want to plough in, in case they lose their jobs.” The Beatties bear no hostility towards Sellafield. But they are concerned that any connection between the plant and childhood leukaemias should be made known. “That’s what this court case is all about,” says John Beattie. “I would hate to think the plant was going to be closed down, but I it is causing leukaemia they have obviously got to do something. If it did shut down, though, it would cause an awful lot of hardship to this area.”


Richard Coleman age 16

“I remember the injections and my hair falling out”


The Colemans have lived in Maryport, 20 miles north of Sellafield all their lives. Their son Richard was diagnosed as suffering from acute lymphatic leukaemia when he was four. Now 16 Richard seems to have recovered fully: he has had no recurrence since he was six. Terry Coleman is secretary of the local branch of the Leukaemia Care Society. The family have been offered legal aid. “I don’t remember much about my treatment because I was so young,” says Richard. “But I do remember the injections and my hair falling out. It affected my schooling because I had a lot of time off. I’m now looking for a job, but they are very rare round here. I spend quite a bit of time visiting other children with leukaemia with my parents. I feel very sorry for them, but I know that seeing me gives confidence to the parents. They see that I have survived.” The Colemans home is 50 yards from the beach at Maryport. “I walked there when I was pregnant,” says Terry. “Richard was always playing there. Another parent I know who used to walk there also has a lad who has leukaemia. When Greenpeace took samples of radioactive silt to Downing Street, nobody would go near it. That’s what we have been living on top of.”


When Richard was ill with leukaemia, he also contracted bacterial meningitis. His father gave up his job with the water authority at tat time because of the risk of bringing bacteria home. “I was devastated but I had to, my main concern was the lad.” Says Thomas Coleman. “I’d like to go back 10 years before Sellafield opened and see how many cases of leukaemia there were then. Its all very well for BNFL to say they have cleaned the plant up now. I’m 100 percent behind them if they have. But its too late now, the leukaemia is there.”

The French Sellafield “corroding faster than expected”

Many Thanks to a colleague for passing on News on the “Evaporators” from the French equivalent to Sellafield at La Hague.  We have asked but no one has explained where the crapola is “evaporated” to.    Now the Evaporators are “corroding faster than expected.”   And they say “Trust Us”


07.07.2016_No133 / News in Brief

Regulator Asks Areva NC To Increase Oversight Of La Hague Evaporators

Security & Safety

7 Jul (NucNet): France’s nuclear regulator ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire) has asked Areva NC to increase its oversight of evaporators at the La Hague nuclear fuel processing facility in northern France after greater levels of corrosion than expected were discovered earlier this year.

Aerial view of the UP2 and UP3 processing plants at La Hague.

In February 2016, ASN asked Areva NC to increase its supervision of the units and install isolation facilities and advanced detection systems to limit the consequences of a leak or rupture.

ASN has now imposed a number of additional measures, including asking Areva NC to define the criteria that would necessitate permanent shutdown of the evaporators, such as the minimum thickness of their walls.

ASN said Areva NC must strengthen controls and checks on the thickness of the evaporator walls. There should be increased monitoring of maintenance shutdowns and plans must be prepared to deal with any emergency resulting from the development of a hole in an evaporator.

Results of all tests must be compiled in reports to be sent to ASN twice a year, ASN said.

The evaporators were commissioned between 1989 and 1994 and designed for an operating lifetime of 30 years. They are used to increase the concentration of fission products in liquid waste produced from processing. This liquid is highly radioactive.

The evaporators are in the UP3-A processing plant, which has an annual processing capacity of around 800 tonnes of used nuclear fuel.

According to Areva NC, La Hague has an overall capacity for the annual processing of used fuel from 80 to 100 nuclear reactors, amounting to 1,700 tonnes. This makes Areva NC the biggest operator in the world in the processing of used nuclear fuel.

High Level Radioactive Waste from Sellafield Continues its Journey Across France

High Level Radioactive Waste from Sellafield in the Lorraine region
High Level Radioactive Waste from Sellafield in the Lorraine region

Press from France (translation ours) on the convoy of highly radioactive waste from Sellafield making its way across Europe.

* A castor nuclear waste train crosses the Lorraine afternoon * by Jean-Christophe Dupuis-Rémond according to various sources, a convoy of Swiss waste passes through the France Wednesday, September 16, 2015 to reach Basel (Switzerland).
This “/CASTOR/ train” carrying vitrified nuclear waste reprocessed at Sellafield plant (French equivalent of the Hague). ”

Source : France 3 Lorraine (16/9/2015)
Parti lundi du centre de retraitement nucléaire controversé
de Sellafield

), * a Swiss vitrified nuclear waste convoy crosses the France from West to East Wednesday, September 16, 2015 to destination of Basel * (Switzerland) where it should arrive late in the evening.

* The convoy travelling on the SNCF lines should cross several train station on its journey * according to the map published on the website of the network Sortir du nucléaire (map at the bottom of the article). Observed shortly after 8: 00 in Amiens, * it passes through Lorraine: Bar-le-Duc and Commercy, Toul, Nancy, Lunéville, Sarrebourg before winning Alsace * by Saverne.

The course is actively followed and relayed on social networks >, by sympathizers or activists, to the image of Christophe Porquier, Vice President Europe ecology the Greens (EELV) of Picardy

All denounce legislation deemed “très laxiste” ..
It therefore represents a real risk of irradiation for railway workers and police officers that accompany./ “they also regret “/l’absence of information provided to the elected officials.. / “.



‘Old Sparky’: Coastal Fission

Sellafield's Railway Children
Sellafield’s Railway Children

In the current issue of Private Eye  ‘Old Sparky’  is well worth a read ……

Health and Safety

Coastal Fission by ‘Old Sparky’

Private Eye 21st Aug -3rd Sept 2015

In summer 2013 government spin doctors said a deal with the French to build two new nuclear power plants in the UK was in the bag (EYE 1351). It wasn’t. Now the spinners are in action again.

This time they are hinting that during the state visit in October of China’s president Xi Jinping, he will commit Chinese money to rescue the endlessly delayed nuclear projects. With his country’s dire record on industrial health and safety , Xi should feel at home in the ramshackle edifice that is much of Britain’s nuclear infrastructure.

The BBC was last week allowed to “uncover the secret story of Sellafield” with physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili gushing at his “exclusive, unprecedented access” to the Cumbrian nuclear waste facility, complete with hi-tech robotic storage processes. He faithfully parroted government policy: “Nuclear power alongside renewables, is crucial for our future energy needs – the cusp of a new nuclear age!”

What the professor didn’t see, just two miles up the coast, was the very low-tech 165 year old single track Barrow-Carlisle railway that is the industry’s Achilles heel. All UK nuclear waste travels along this storm-lashed line in “flask wagon” trains weighing hundreds of tonnes. They run the gauntlet between : four landslips in less than two years (in one, when a train became derailed another sent to rescue the passengers was itself stranded by a second landslip); a stone-built Victorian railway bridge with gaps in its flood eroded mortar; a frequently flooding culvert last repaired in 2009; manually operated level crossing gates; a signal-box usually only manned until 7.30pm although nuclear flask trains sometimes run at midnight.

In May 2010 a torrential storm washed away the embankment to within six feet of the track. Residents called the signaller but a train had already passed him and could not be contacted by radio. The train was only flagged down by locals waving their coats at it. In September 2013 a nuclear flask train (pictured) was derailed in nearby Barrow in Furness and in January 2014 70m of sea wall was destroyed by a storm leaving the line suspended in mid-air.

The “new nuclear age” may be ushered in on Chinese money – but what about the Victorian infrastructure.

GUEST BLOG: Nuclear Trains, Leafletting at Warrington & Sellafield

German Protesters target nuclear train - 2011. The nuclear industry in the UK is getting a free ride, and it is taking us all along the radioactive tracks.
German Protesters target nuclear train in 2011 to halt nuclear transports. The nuclear industry in the UK is getting a free ride, and it is taking us all along the radioactive tracks.

GUEST BLOG: Nuclear Trains, Leafletting at Warrington & Sellafield Fallout

by Martyn Lowe of Close Capenhurst Campaign

While Leafleting at Warrington Bank Quay Station on Tuesday August 25th 2015

Tuesday afternoon I went over to Warrington again in order to do some more
leafleting about the nukiller waste trains which go through the town. This
time it was just the two of us doing it as that’s all which is needed with the
number of people who pass through the station. It was just John who is 78 &
myself who’s 65.

We have been leafleting the station together a number of times over the last
year or so. Thus we got some people saying they had received our leaflets the
other week. That’s good as it means we are now starting to build an awareness
of the issue in the area.

Then came the interesting interlude when a transport police car drove in the
forecourt & one of the 3 cops in it came over to have a word with us. He said
that they had been alerted about us being outside the station, and how it was
a waste of his time to of been called out.

[ Very obviously we had been reported or perceived as being young dangerous
tearaways who needed to be watched.]

The funny thing being we always leaflet at the same spot, which means we get
to pass them on the maximum number of people, and is not on railway land.
That’s why just the two of us is all that’s needed at any one time.

As I keep saying about these leafleting sessions.
We are there to communicate our concerns & not holding a demonstration.

Anywise – we had a chat with the said railway police officer about the waste
trains going through the station, and I mentioned in passing when they are
scheduled to pass through the station. He asked me how I know and so I told
him about the realtimetrains website.

He said he was not aware of it, which is exactly the same line I’ve heard from
the transport cops while leafleting at Chester station.

All of which makes me wonder just how well informed the transport police are
about just what hazardous goods are transported on the railways.

End of story – after this friendly chat he was happy with what we were doing.
So we shook hands goodbye & waved to him as he drove on to the next location.
There is one other interesting aspect to this story.

The policeman we talked with mentioned in passing that he had been up to Cumbria, and met with some of the Civil Nukiller Constabulary [ CNC ] at Sellafield. One of the CNC told him that if there was a major ‘accident’ at the plant, then the area effected by any fallout would stretch over to Northern France.

Now that’s something which is not normally mentioned by Sellafield Ltd.
We will be back to do some more leafleting at Warrington in a while.


MANY THANKS to MARTYN and his colleagues at Close Capenhurst Campaign and to the Nuclear Trains Action Group for keeping the issue alive… is anyone listening???  


Enthusiast for Moorside - Jim Al-Khalili
Enthusiast for Moorside – Jim Al-Khalili

It is difficult to know where to begin with this but have submitted a complaint to the BBC …….you can do the same here

Your Complaint
Type of complaint:
Choose channel:
BBC Four
Programme title:
Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield
Transmission date:
Broadcast type:
Recorded/On demand
How long in to the show:
Complaint category:
Contacted us before:

Complaint title:
Biased Infomercial

Complaint description:
The programme purports to be investigative journalism when it is an infomercial for the nuclear industry and the government’s new build agenda.

“The real story” suggests impartiality. While the programme reiterates in a misleadingly superficial way the known dangers of nuclear power there was no attempt at all by the programme makers to speak to opponents of nuclear power or even whistleblowers from within the industry.

PR group Copper Consultancy have advised the nuclear industry/government bodies such as DECC to use “science champions” to promote new nuclear development.

Jim Al-Khalili is one of BBC’s foremost science champions. He rounds off the programme with enthusiastic endorsements for new nuclear build while standing within the ancient field systems that are under threat of new nuclear development.

This is at the time when there is a consultation going on. Grass roots group Radiation Free Lakeland have been aggressively warned off sending any briefings from independent scientists about new build to Copeland Council’s Nationally Significant Infrastructure Panel as “it might prejudice decisions.”  

This BBC 4 Infomercial masquerading as investigative journalism is entirely prejudicial in its promotion of new nuclear build.

Copper Consultancy – – DECC ManagingRadioactive Waste Safely consultation 2013 “engage well known ‘science champions’ to explain the issues..”

BBC 4 TV Sellafield Infomercial Tonight at 9.00pm

'Nuclear Sunset'
‘Nuclear Sunset’

BBC Four TV is showing a series of films around the 70th anniversary of the
bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:-

Tonights insulting offering is to be an infomercial called: Britain’s Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield.  The presenter is nuclear physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili an apologist for the nuclear industry who has repeatedly denied radiation linked disease and death while bigging up nuclear as “cheap and reliable.”

Professor Jim   repeats the industry’s myth making that the mental health impact  is the biggest health impact of Chernobyl.  Immediately after the Chernobyl accident people were ‘warned’ by government that they might experience “radiophobia”  … the unborn children too!!?

There are moves afoot to deregulate radiation dose as a result of the recent report by United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) which pushes the line that mental health is the most widespread and damaging  of health impacts following nuclear accidents.    Being poisoned does that for you.

We expect the programme to be an infomercial in the guise of independent journalism.  We expect the line to be that : ‘yes awful things were done but now the industry has learnt from mistakes, science has moved on, nuclear is dangerous , we can control it, nuclear power and nuclear weapons can be totally separate.’     All of this is of course Nuclear Myth Making.  Continued nuclear power is a prerequisite for nuclear weapons and the plan for Moorside is key to keeping the nuclear military machine alive and kicking.   The only way to truly honour those terrible events  at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is to Ban Nuclear Power.  All effort and expertise should now be put into containment instead of continual and accelerating dispersal to the environment with the routine poisoning of reprocessing and ‘decommissioning.’   No doubt Jim will raise a glass of the new beer ‘Nuclear Sunset’ at the close of the programme.  The beer is made by a former Sellafield worker to ‘commemorate’ Hiroshima and Nagasaki while at the same time endorsing new build and nuclear weapons .  Nuff said!