There is a change coming – the nuclear dinosaurs have had their day….
“Why I’m standing for the Green Party in Copeland
A progressive alliance is impossible under these circumstances
On Friday 13 January the Green Party announced it would stand a candidate in the Copeland by-election, a decision reached by the local party. Within minutes of the announcement onlookers on social media questioned why there was apparently no progressive alliance for the seat.
This built to a crescendo when Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, spoke about the benefits of progressive alliances at the Fabian Society New Year conference the next day.
Wasn’t it hypocritical of Jonathan to be promoting the concept of an electoral pact while his party stood against them, Labour activists said? In my opinion, absolutely not.
There are many things that a progressive alliance might be, but it is not simply the Greens standing down. On the contrary, it’s about standing up for what we believe and especially for a fair voting system in which every vote counts.
Any serious electoral alliance in which the Greens might participate has to put that centre stage, and there has to be a clear and active commitment to working for it by all involved.
Let’s examine the facts a bit closer. Despite Jonathan and Caroline Lucas making it clear that Greens are always open to talking, no-one from Copeland Labour reached out to ask us not to stand, or to back their candidacy. Neither, for that matter, did the West Cumbria Liberal Democrats.
So why aren’t the Greens taking the moral high ground and demonstrating how an alliance might work? Well, we considered it. Many members were conflicted about potentially splitting the progressive vote, so it came down to a few key issues.
First and foremost is the elephant in the room – nuclear. A lot of misinformation has been spread about the state of nuclear power in Copeland. While many are suggesting an anti-nuclear stance will hurt jobs in the region, news outlets including the BBC keep suggesting there is currently an active nuclear power plant in Cumbria. Neither are true.
No nuclear power is generated in Cumbria. In fact Sellafield is home to Windscale – the worst nuclear disaster ever to have occurred in the UK. Since the accident in 1957 a decommissioning process has been under way.
The site is home to extremely dangerous waste materials and will provide employment for hundreds of years. No matter how green anyone is, it simply isn’t possible to ‘close’ Sellafield, as some scaremongers pretend.
Distant commentators seem to think the residents of Copeland have a romantic love affair with nuclear power. Obviously given the above, they don’t. However, and despite what has happened at Windscale, there are plans for a new nuclear power plant at Moorside – part of the Sellafield site (n.b. not “Moorfield”, as both Andrew Marr and Jeremy Corbyn said on Marr’s show).
The Moorside planning process has been blighted with incompetence and the project, NuGen, is scrambling around for new investors with the new plant in jeopardy. Even the local Labour council leader has said it can’t support the project without more investment in infrastructure for the site.
Of course, there are also the very legitimate Green reasons for opposing new nuclear power. There are massive public health risks if the plant were to fail (as Copeland knows all too well), from the radiation any nuclear plant will produce, and there is the matter of disposing of highly toxic waste.
Then there is the fact UK peak energy use has been in decline since 2007, and the national grid may well not need the additional power by the time any power plant does come online – in the mid-2020s at the earliest. This point is bolstered by the fact we could, and should, instead be focusing on making buildings more efficient.
And finally there is the fact there are better renewable alternatives capable of bringing more jobs to the region: Tidal Lagoon Power – the company behind the new tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay – has already carried out much of the preliminary work necessary in establishing a similar project in West Cumbria.
I hope you can see that an anti-nuclear stance isn’t quite the suicidal move the mainstream media are suggesting. And yet despite this, Jeremy Corbyn has apparently abandoned his anti-nuclear position, and the Labour message is that they love nuclear power. The Liberal Democrats have also given new nuclear power in Cumbria their blessing.
Under such circumstances, it is simply impossible for the Greens to ally with either party.
The nuclear issue aside, we obviously have areas of agreement with both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Chief is to save West Cumberland Hospital from losing vital departments such as its consultant-led maternity ward.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been in a pretty dire financial situation for some time – the situation is very distressing and the only solution is funding.
So is it wrong to stand a candidate when so much is at stake with the local hospital Again, in my opinion, sadly not. Jamie Reed’s record of defending local services is pretty poor. I do not see the election of a new Blairite Labour MP in Copeland as a guarantee we won’t see the situation continue to worsen.
Much of the groundwork for what we are now seeing happen to the NHS was laid by the Labour government that Jamie Reed ardently supported during his first term as an MP for the constituency.
To return to the beginning: Labour activists seem to think we should simply stand aside. A number have mocked the Greens, sniggering at the size of our parliamentary representation and joking that they’ll lose ‘tens and tens of votes’ to us. We are, apparently, Schrödinger’s party: simultaneously so irrelevant that no-one should care what we do, while also irresponsible for splitting the progressive vote.
My belief is that under such circumstances, we had no choice but to stand. In the vein of seeking a progressive alliance, I am afraid to say we have to be cruel to be kind.
And if Labour lose the seat by a margin smaller than the number of seats we gain, maybe they will start taking us, and a progressive alliance, seriously. If we had decided to stand aside, no-one would have noticed or cared.
This is why I voted for us to stand in Copeland, and I was proud to be among an overwhelming majority of fellow members of my local party. If you live in Copeland, I hope I can convince you to vote Green on 23 February.”
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”
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
Copeland Labour hopeful Gillian Troughton supports the nuclear industry “No ifs, no buts”
Jeremy Corbyn has finally given his personal backing to a new nuclear power plant in Cumbria – just as doubts emerged over its expected Japanese investors.
The Labour leader said that he was now supporting the planned Moorside complex, which is expected to create 20,000 jobs and has become a key issue in the Copeland by-election.
Corbyn has spent weeks refusing to be pinned down on the scheme, and last weekend again told ITV Border that it was ultimately the Government’s decision and the timing was “some way off”.
Yet on Wednesday he told HuffPost UK: “Labour supports new nuclear as part of the UK’s energy mix to keep the lights on and tackle climate change.
The proposed Moorside nuclear site
“I back the proposed new power station at Moorside which will bring thousands of skilled jobs, and hope the company can provide the necessary assurances on the strike price and value for money.”
His strong backing came as Toshiba announced it was reviewing its entire nuclear operations outside Japan.
The company has a 60% stake in the NuGeon consortium that is driving the Moorside development and the UK government is set to talk to a South Korean firm to replace it.
The Tories have tried to make Corbyn’s anti-nuclear views a key issue in the by-election in Copeland, which was triggered when Labour MP Jamie Reed stood down to take a job at the nearby Sellafield waste plant.
The by-election, which will be held on February 23 at the same time as the Stoke-on-Trent Central contest, will be a key test for Corbyn’s leadership as Labour defends a narrow 2,500 majority from the Tories.
For weeks, Labour activists locally have urged him to give his full backing in supporting the new nuclear plant.
Deputy leader Tom Watson and GMB trade unionists have been campaigning to persuade voters that local Labour candidate Gillian Troughton is a strong backer of nuclear power.
“Yesterday @tom_watson popped to Copeland to meet Sellafield workers and back my pledge to support the nuclear industry. No ifs. No buts.”
— “Gillian Troughton (@GillTroughton) 11:20 AM – 31 Jan 2017
The issue was raised in Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday, when Cumbrian MP John Woodcock asked for Government reassurance about the future of the plant after Toshiba’s announcement.
Theresa May said: “I and the Business Secretary are involved and are keen to see these nuclear deals stay on track.
“I can assure you the Government’s commitment is there.”
The Lancaster Guardianhad a gem of an article entitled “Thinking About the Energy Fuelling the Food We Eat” (12/1/17)
The hidden ingredient . . . .
However much care we take with the ingredients for our favourite dishes – there is one ingredient we probably don’t think about very much – and that’s the power we use to cook the food. Even brewing up tea – whatever we do that uses electricity – might well be including some ingredients we hadn’t thought about – like increasing nuclear waste dumps, or piling loads more CO2 in the atmosphere.
If our household supply is with a regular electricity supplier then it is likely to be generated by coal fired power stations or else nuclear ones. So it may well be that even the most carefully selected food is creating nuclear waste just by the way it is cooked.
Sam from Skerton has been looking into all this and has found that there is now a really simple way to change over our household electricity to a green renewables provider. http://www.greenelectricity.org is a comparison site listing all the possible renewable suppliers for the area. It is really easy to compare the costs and to click to change your household supply to renewables. Green electricity comes from the renewable sources of wind, rivers, waves and sun.
A few years ago green energy often cost more than the regular suppliers. As more and more people change over to renewables and more and more companies offer 100% nuclear free electricity the costs are coming down. You can see for yourself by using the comparison website.
It could be a good new years resolution to sit down with a brew and check out the comparisons and make the change – and tell your friends that you are now clean and green. Those of us who cook with gas can change too, since most of the renewables providers also supply gas. While the gas coming along the pipes is clearly a fossil fuel – if we buy it from a renewables supplier then that company is already investing in alternatives.
Sam says – ‘It seems that changing to renewables and away from nuclear/coal is something that really interests a lot of people. There seems to be an increasing public concern about the dangers of nuclear and coal.
It’s never been easier to switch to renewables – so your favourite meals don’t need to increase CO2 or the nuclear waste dumps.’
Recently I was asked for maps of the Moorside site – here a satellite map indicates the overall view. From Sellafield the Moorside site would stretch to Beckermet , Braystones and Calderbridge and include the flood plain of the River Ehen. The near proximity to the jewel in the crown of the Lake District- Wastwater can be seen here. As you can see from the map this is a greenfield site with many special areas of wildlife and cultural protection – those protections are being overridden to accommodate this “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.”
Those spending huge energy and finances on opposing the pylons are in the wrong fight. No greater illustration of this is needed than the sight of rabidly pronuclear MP John Woodcock leading the fight against the pylons.
“1 Power Blocks: 3x AP1000 reactors plus turbine, annex and auxiliary buildings.
2 Beckermet, Braystones and Calder Bridge: NuGen will work with the local community to avoid and mitigate impacts of construction for its neighbours as far as possible.
Roads, Internal Roads and Limited Car Parking: access roads to Moorside Site to be established and access roads to Sellafield Site are likely to be altered. Other changes will mitigate the impact on the A595. During the construction, there would be up to 200 car parking spaces for blue badge parking, coaches and essential safety and security staff
plus 100 for visitors.
3 Sellafield Site: working under a long-term co-operation agreement, NuGen will work closely with Sellafield and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
4 Environmental mitigation: NuGen will provide environmental mitigation and compensation, including earthworks, landscaping, replacement habitats, environmental offsetting, common land replacement and floodplain compensation.
5 Low Church Moss SSSI and St Bridget’s Church: both have determined the position of the plant and development is being carefully sited to minimise the impact on the setting of St Bridget’s Church and the Saxon stone crosses in the grave yard.
6 Cooling Tunnels and Forebay: an integral part of the Circulating Water System, the Forebay and four tunnels up to 4km long (two intake, two outflow) will provide and discharge sea water to and from the Irish Sea.
7 Marine Off-Loading Facility (MOLF) and Heavy Haul Road: a key part of NuGen’s transport strategy is to bring materials and components to site by sea to the MOLF. Breakwaters may be needed and NuGen may need to establish a Harbour Authority.
8 Earthworks: mounded areas to the northwest of the Moorside Power Station will accommodate up to 15 million m3 of excavated material, which will be landscaped as screening for the local community and could provide an opportunity for recreational amenity. (Editors Note – this area is “too contaminated” for a low level nuclear waste dump according to the industry and yet it is fine to excavate and heap up tonnes of it with crapola leaching out?)
9 River Ehen: will need to be crossed by the floodplain bridge to carry the Heavy Haul Road from the MOLF onto site and by a new rail viaduct. No bridge piers are expected in the river but works may be required to ensure the integrity of the bridge and river structure.
10 Rail: a new rail passenger station and freight facility are required to provide transport for staff, construction workers and freight needed for the Moorside Project.
11 Support Buildings: would house a range of administration, medical, storage, centralised fire support, maintenance, security facilities and an outage maintenance building. The tallest building would be the administration building at up to eight storeys tall.
12 Substation and Switchyard: required to allow the electricity generated to be exported to the national electricity transmission system.
Public Rights Of Way: various public rights of way exist over the Moorside Site. NuGen is assessing the impact of the Moorside Project on these rights of way and potential diversions.”
Editors Note: this whole area is a flood plain with run off from these fields already causing regular flooding in Beckermet – the concreting over of this area would exacerbate this AND the run off would be from the excavated mounds not to mention the untried untested AP1000 reactors
A reminder of recent flooding…the nursery at Beckermet would be less than 700 metres from Moorside
Firemen rescue children from nursery
Last updated at 13:00, Friday, 05 September 2008
FLASH floods trapped children inside a nursery school as heavy rain and lightning hit West Cumbria.
Three-year-old Imogen Marsh is carried to safety by Fire Fighter Tony Biggins out of Beckermet Nursery after it had bee marooned by the flood water.
1 of 4 Photos
Firefighters had to dig away huge amounts of silt washed up by heavy rain that was blocking the door of Beckermet Nursery before helping carry 20 youngsters to safety yesterday.
Nursery staff say the water “came out of nowhere” following heavy rainfall that quickly washed up to eight inches of water into their new £175,000 building, which they moved into on Monday.
And the flooding in Beckermet, which also damaged houses at the Mill Field, was not the area’s only weather emergency yesterday.
The chimney of the former station building at Drigg Station – now a craft shop – was struck by lightning, starting a small fire.
A clean-up operation is now underway at the nursery, on Sellafield Road, with the charity that runs it assessing the damage.
Committee member Steve Malpas, whose four-year-old daughter Kiera was one of the children trapped inside, said rain started falling at about 11.30am and quickly turned torrential.
He said: “It was like a monsoon. There were flash floods. The water came down across the road. It washed our car park out.
“There was six to eight inches of water in the new building. It has taken us five years to get that building. We’re a charity. We’ve spent all our money doing this.
“About three tonnes of silt was up against the front door – nobody could get out. Firefighters had to come and dig to get to the front door.”
Mr Malpas said the children inside were fine despite the emergency, only realising what happened as they were carried out.
“The staff did a fantastic job keeping the situation calm,” he added.
Firefighters from Egremont, Whitehaven and Seascale dealt with the flooding, pumping water from flooded properties at the Mill Field into the nearby river.
Station Manager Joe Little said they had to prioritise the risk because water was flooding into homes – with most of it running towards the nursery.
Firefighters told staff to keep the doors shut until water levels had dropped.
Mr Little added: “We asked them to stay in the building because if they opened the doors they could have had water running right through the building. It was up to two-foot at the bottom. If people were coming for their children firecrews were taking them out to the parents.”
Ian Curwen, press officer for Copeland Borough Council said: “We’ve sent out a lot of sandbags in the area yesterday and today.
“There has been a bitof flooding in the Millfield area, two houses were affected.
“If we get down pours like we did yesterday, that might cause some problems again today.
Substantial flooding was also reported on the A595 between Iron Bridge at Beckermet and the Black Beck Roundabout, Egremont.
Mr Curwen said: “The A595 often floods, and it may well flood again today. The council will be a meeting on September 23 to discuss how to resolve the problem.”
In Thornhill, two houses flooded and fire crews from Egremont, with help from police, pumped water onto the disused railway line.
Meanwhile, a woman was praised by firefighters for her quick reaction after lightening struck her craft shop at Drigg Station.
Group Manager Dave Edgar said the lightening bolt had struck the chimney, gone down its lining and arced on a gas pipe at the bottom, starting a small fire.
He added: “The lady in the shop had a fire extinguisher and put the fire out herself, otherwise it could have been quite severe. We can only praise her quick-thinking.”
The Met Office predicted that more heavy rain could fall in Cumbria today and continuing into tomorrow, although getting lighter and more intermittent.
But a spokesman said: “Fortunately the orientation of the weather system bringing the rain means it will reach Cumbria on an east or northeasterly wind.
“This is good news for much of the county because it allows the north Pennines to filter out much of the heavier rain.
“Although we could, over the period, see appreciable rainfall totals, the wettest parts of the county look like being in the south and east with least rain towards the west and northwest.”
An observation…..while activist and NGO attention has been (deliberately?) ratcheted up and focussed on fracking the nuclear industry has been lining up its myriad ducks from the South of England to Wales to Cumbria with a view to poisoning our water, land, sea and our DNA.. People often say to me “Why bother, its too big to fight, Moorside is a done deal” but this is true only if we are so cowed and intimidated by the entrenched and violent (yes violent) nuclear industry that we let their evil ambitions be a done deal. RESIST! Here is to containing Sellafield and Stopping Moorside in order to ensure many many more New Years being seen in – here in our beautiful, vulnerable Cumbria. Thanks to All Nuclear Resisters Everywhere!!
Review of the Year
January 7th 2016 NEW YEARS EVE NUCLEAR WASTE SITE FLOOD ALERT VIRTUALLY UNREPORTED Main Stream Media did not report dangers of flooding to UK’s Drigg Nuclear Waste Site “The Ecologist highlights a UK Environment Agency alert about the River Irt which is adjacent to Drigg described as a nuclear waste repository. Basically however it’s simply a ‘nuclear landfill site’
February 28th 2016 WYLFA CONSULTATION Radiation Free Lakeland object strongly to the plan for new nuclear in Wales and “We urge others to write opposing plans for new nuclear in Wales (or anywhere!). The “high burn” waste from new build would be many times hotter than from existing nuclear plants.”
April 30th LOCK THE GATE ON DRIGG –The Drigg site owners, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority pass day to day running of the site to multinational corporations involved in “decommissioning’ and those corporations largely monitor themselves. SO the same people responsible for producing the waste are also responsible for dumping it. The Environment Agency has told us it sees no conflict of interest in this…but we do! Studsvik, a swedish company who operate the only radioactive scrap metal plant in Europe here in Cumbria is one of the partners of the Drigg site. On 20th April Studsvik’s waste operations were taken over by EDF.
May 2nd COMEDIAN PAUL MERTON GOES WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD – DRIGG Is this the best expose in the last two decades of the UK’s “Low Level” Nuclear Dump ? Paul Merton fearlessly goes where Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have not dared to tread for many a long year and shows the world the madness of nuclear…and all in a quaint little Lakeland coastal village called Drigg.
May 5th DRIGG DECISION DELAYED YET AGAIN WHILE CONCRETE IS POURED IN THE ‘VAULTS’ First we were told this would be in April, then May – now the decision has been put back once again. The next possible time it may be heard is June 23rd ….but we will not know for sure until 7 days ahead of the meeting by the Development Control and Regulation Committee of Cumbria County Council. The toothless Environment Agency have already given their blessing and the operators have already poured tonnes of concrete over coastal land precariously near to the Drigg dunes for more “vaults” despite planning approval having not been given.
May 9th 2016 “POPULATION MIXING” LETTER HAND DELIVERED TO DECC “The industry and government continue to deny any link between radioactive emissions and childhood leukemia, preferring to throw supposedly reassuring red herrings to the public in the form of “population mixing” as a viral agent causing increased leukaemia’s. Here the plan in Cumbria is to parachute in 4000 temporary workers to the Moorside site. The village in which the site is situated, Beckermet has a population of 1,619 (2011). The nursery and primary school would be 700m from the proposed development.”
May 31st KESWICK SAYS NO TO NEW NUCLEAR 20 MILES AWAY AS THE CROW FLIES Today in Keswick 90% of the people we spoke to were opposed to new nuclear build in Cumbria. This does not tally with what NuGen are saying which is that “Cumbria wants new nuclear build.” A recent poll in the Evening Mail indicated that 85% of those voting do not want new nuclear build in Cumbria. Tourists said they would think twice about coming to Cumbria if dangerous new nuclear reactors were built here.
June 9th CUMBRIA WILDLIFE TRUST TEAM UP WITH NUGEN FOR WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY The local press trumpets the headline “NuGen Lends a Hand for World Environment Day” the article goes on ….”Employees from NuGen, the company responsible for delivering Moorside, teamed up with representatives from Cumbria Wildlife Trust and The Forestry Commission. We have been informed that people living on the coast near the proposed Moorside site where “exploratory” borehole drilling is already stirring up decades of radioactive waste (no planning permissison necessary say NuGen) have been warned by Nuvia (who do radioactive sampling on the beaches) not to pick up polythene sheeting or plastic. No doubt Cumbria Wildlife Trust will not be fazed by this and will continue to promote childrens activities on the beach?
July 22nd MOORSIDE 2nd CONSULTATION The 2nd Moorside Consultation for the “biggest nuclear development in Europe” finishes on 30th July. ‘Too Big and Too Nasty to Fight‘ is the View of the Proposed Moorside Plan from so many good people like the Director of Cumbria Wildlife Trust who feel utterly defeated by the nuclear juggernaught coming our way. This is of course what the industry wants you to think. BUT WE CAN DEFEAT THEM, ALL IT TAKES IS YOU. Thousands of people have already joined the Resistance .
August 2nd DRIGG DECISION: ‘WE ARE CAUGHT IN A TRAP, NO WAY OUT, BECAUSE WE LOVE NUCLEAR WASTE TOO MUCH?’ On 15th July a small committee of Cumbrian Councillors in Kendal took the decision to stack nuclear waste ever higher in shipping containers on the shifting sands of the West Cumbrian coast at the quaint village of Drigg. No fuss, no fanfare, no comment, only one article in the local press which airbrushed out the opposition – its a wonder there is ANY opposition what with the deafening silence! That rather triumphant article appeared in the Whitehaven News and it should set ALL alarm bells ringing. The operators of the Drigg “Low Level” Nuclear Waste “repository” are gleefully reported saying: ” It is safe to dispose of LLW at the LLWR both now and centuries into the future.”
August 23rd FRAGILE HABITATS – LETTER IN THE GUARDIAN “George Monbiot is right: wholesale destruction of wildlife is obscene (The grouse shooters aim to kill, 16 August). Why no grousing, then, on the imminent destruction of the diverse habitats and endangered species, including many red list birds, on the west coast of Cumbria? Why no grouse about the collateral damage in obsessive pursuit of the “biggest nuclear development in Europe” at Moorside? The environmental destruction planned is on a scale the most bloodthirsty grouse hunter could only dream of.”
August 30th PYLONS: WHAT DECISION WOULD YOU LIKE THE NATIONAL GRID TO MAKE? 70% SAY NO TO MOORSIDE The Evening Mail’s Pylon Poll has the option (unlike the actual Consultations) to vote No to Moorside…the poll is now standing at 70% saying No to Moorside …this is absolutely remarkable and very heartening given that the Friends of the Lake District and other groups along with the media are concentrating campaign efforts and media space only on the damaging impact of pylons rather than the obscenity of the main event!!
18th Sept HINKLEY C – THE CUMBRIAN CONNECTION –LETTER TO TERESA MAY PM “The spent fuel will remain on site until it has cooled sufficiently to allow it to be disposed of to the GDF, which may be around 50 years after the end of generation.” So the Hinkley C plan hinges on “The GDF” being available to dump the “hot” waste in, notwithstanding the tsunami of day to day operational wastes that would come to Drigg..
September 19th 2016 DID GEORGE MONBIOT JUST POP THE WHITE ELEPHANT MYTH OF NEW NUCLEAR? George is ever so keen on new nuclear especially on burning plutonium wastes. So when he uses the term “white elephant” we should sit up and take notice. We should question why mainstream NGOs have allowed new nuclear proposals to become synonymous with a “White Elephant” rather than for example the far less benign “Hydra” monster of myth and legend
October 5th FRACKING SELLAFIELD? Letter to the Communities Secretary Opposing Fracking in Lancashire. Radiation Free Lakeland add our voice to all those Lancashire Communities and Councils opposing Fracking. Here in Cumbria the new Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) for Sellafield as determined by the Office for Nuclear Regulation has dramatically increased the emergency zone following research on possible seismic activity . As you know Fracking may well trigger seismic events. The release of just 1percent of the radioactivity from Sellafield’s high level liquid wastes would render much of the U.K Uninhabitable and pollute the rest of the world. The U.K. is already too small for the existing nuclear plants and in particular the uniquely vulnerable radioactive wastes at Sellafield.Please do not approve fracking activity in Lancashire which is just a stones throw from Sellafield in geological and seismic terms.”
October 9th 2016 WASDALE SHOW – 100% SAY STOP MOORSIDE This is remarkable given that this area is being bigged up as a “Nuclear Heartland” by Tom Samson the Chief Executive of Nugen (60% Toshiba and 40% Engie).The heart of Cumbria is alive and well no thanks to the heart tissue destroying Strontium emissions from the nuclear industry.
October 31st LAKELAND STORY FOR ALL HALLOWS EVE – THE BEAST OF BECKERMET It seems the official bodies tasked with protecting our wildlife have been well and truly nobbled by the insidious many-headed nuclear beast. Maybe the Woodwose as protector of the woods and wildlife is needed now more than ever? But who will protect the habitat of the Beast of Beckermet?
November 6th 2016 VIKING HOARD FOUND AT PROPOSED NUCLEAR SITE IN CUMBRIA A Viking Hoard found at Beckermet was actually found on the site earmarked by the UK government for the “biggest nuclear development in Europe”. It has been determined a National Treasure. “Hoards” have filled in the blanks for certain murky periods of history, and even re-written history.
November 30th 2016 NUCLEAR FREE LOCAL AUTHORITIES ENDORSE DAMNING REPORT The independent report was drafted by Pete Roche, the NFLA Scotland Policy Advisor and an independent consultant on nuclear policy. It was commissioned by the Cumbrian NGO Radiation Free Lakeland. “significant and alarming problems with this reactor design that could lead to catastrophic damage in the event of a serious accident.”
December 8th 2016 AUSTRIA THANKS CUMBRIANS. Marianne Birkby, Radiation Free Lakeland’s founder says, “ this acknowledgment and moral support from Austria sends us much needed encouragement to continue and to build on the resistance to Moorside. As the Federal Chancellor says, Europe needs citizens who advocate the exit from nuclear energy. Campaigning on the pylon route alone will not cut it. It is up to groups and individuals in Cumbria to join and to put their shoulders to the wheel in building resistance so that we can stop the biggest nuclear development in Europe and ensure a safe and sustainable future.”
The nuclear regulator has been accused of turning a blind eye to incidents
The events appear to be serious and include a torpedo accidentally being
fired by HMS Argyll when it was moored at Devonport Naval base in Plymouth.
The 9ft missile shot through the air before blowing a hole in a perimeter
fence and smashing into a storage container.
Other incidents involve workers being contaminated at a nuclear warhead
base, the discarding of uranium sludge and the radioactive element caesium
in bin bags and more than 30 power station fires.
And it appears incidents have more than doubled since 2010 and are now
recorded on an almost daily basis.
“I do believe that the ONR downplays the incidents’ severity “ – Nuclear
According to reports there has also been a number of incidents which could
have affected members of the public.
Those involve three serious traffic accidents, including a collision
between vehicle carrying nuclear material and a lorry on the M1 and a
transport lorry flipping over causing damage to two containers holding
Between 2012 and 2015 the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) recorded 973
However they were either rated zero or left unrated on the International
Nuclear Event Scale (INES) meaning they were regarded as having “no nuclear
An engineer told The Times: “I do believe that the ONR downplays the
incidents’ severity and the incompetence that has led to these events.”
There have been more than 1000 recorded incidents in three years
However the ONR has denied it is turning a blind eye to serious incidents
and that it is acting in accordance with international law.
A spokesman said: “We are robust in upholding the law and use our
regulatory enforcement powers to hold the industry to account wherever
“The rating of nuclear safety ‘events’ is based on agreed international
criteria and it is wrong to suggest that we would seek to ‘downplay’ these.
“The standards of safety we expect from the nuclear industry are extremely
challenging and the majority of events are of very minor nuclear safety
Last summer Devonport naval base was warned of legal action amid a series
of safety breaches.
Radioactive cooling water was accidentally discharged into a submarine
reactor compartment, the ONR reported.
The UK has a number of nuclear submarines which patrol the waters
The site which refits Britain’s nuclear submarines, was warned that its
practices were “below standard”.
But defence contractor Babcock said in a statement: “Improvements relating
to the ONR enforcement notice and other recently reported incidents at
Devonport Royal Dockyard are being addressed through a broader nuclear
safety improvement programme to further enhance our current high levels of
safety, in agreement with ONR.”
The MoD added: “Safety at HM Naval Base Devonport, as with all Ministry of
Defence sites, is of paramount importance.
“Thorough investigations into these events were carried out and, where
necessary, measures were immediately put in place to prevent them from
According to research there has been six serious nuclear accidents in the
UK since 1957.
Contamination is par for the course with nuclear power
In 1957, radioactivity contaminated about 800 farms and introduced
Strontium 90 to domestic milk supply.
Milk was sold to the public without any warnings after the incident in
That same year on 8 Oct 1957 a fire ignited plutonium piles, contaminating
surrounding dairy farms in the worst Nuclear accident in British history
and was recorded as 5 on the INES scale.
In May 1967 there was a partial meltdown at Chapelcross nuclear power
station in Dumfries and Galloway after graphite debris partially blocked a
fuel channel causing a fuel element to melt and catch fire.
In September 1996 a fuel reprocessing plant was shut down after elevated
radiation levels were detected in waste-water discharged to the sea at
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
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.
IAEA secretary general Yukiya Amano opened the conference with words:
“Ensuring effective nuclear security is important for all countries, including those which possess little or no nuclear or other radioactive material.
Terrorists and criminals will try to exploit any vulnerability in the global nuclear security system. Any country, in any part of the world, could find itself used as a transit point. And any country could become the target of an attack. That is why effective international cooperation is vital….we can never relax our guard. Continued vigilance is essential as the threat evolves.
The IAEA will continue to play its part in helping to ensure that all countries are able to make the best use of available technology and to ensure state-of-the-art nuclear security.
Member States have made clear that they want increased assistance in strengthening computer security in the nuclear industry and related sectors…”
But the British minister is known – her name is Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe- and her speech, rather than concentrate on nuclear security, disgracefully used the conference platform to try to cheerlead for the UK nuclear industry supply chain and nuclear new build. She made no attempt to consider the very serious implications for UK, or indeed or wider global security, of expanding the nuclear industry, although she made several meaningless assertions that “Our Government is fully committed to further strengthening the global nuclear security architecture.”
Her decision to present such a promotional speech, and the departmental or security service officials who drafted it ignorant of nuclear security implications, is very worrying.
Here is her disreputable speech in full:
UK statement to the IAEA international conference on nuclear security
Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG
5 December 2016 (Original script, may differ from delivered version)
6 December 2016
Radioactive and nuclear substances and waste
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, delivered the UK’s Statement to the IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security supporting the IAEA’s pivotal role in global nuclear security
Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG
It was during this week in 1953 that the famous ‘Atoms for Peace’ speech was made to the UN General Assembly and the message in that speech is as true today as it was then. Nuclear power is an astonishing achievement, splitting atoms to create such enormous amounts of energy. It does, however, need careful handling and so we must ensure that it remains both safe and secure.
The UK has been producing nuclear power longer than any other state and has recently decided to proceed with our first new nuclear power station for a generation. With this commitment comes responsibility. That is why I would like to thank the IAEA for hosting this conference and to Director General Amano for his continued leadership on this topic.
The UK recognises that the IAEA plays a pivotal role in the global nuclear security architecture and in coordinating international efforts as new challenges and opportunities emerge.
We must ensure that the IAEA is properly resourced so that it can carry out this role, and that is why the UK is proud to be a leading contributor to the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Fund. I am pleased to announce today that we will make a further contribution of at least £5.5 million before the end of March 2017 to continue to ensure this important work.
This fund, alongside wider efforts by the IAEA with its Member States, has helped to deliver important tools and services in 2016. These included seven IPPAS missions; nine national Design Basis Threat workshops; assistance to Member States at their request; and two more publications under the Nuclear Security Series. We welcome these achievements but we must continue to make progress and we hope that Member States will join us in making further contributions to the Nuclear Security Fund.
The Future of Nuclear Security: challenges and opportunities
The threat we face from terrorism and crime is changing and evolving and we all share the responsibility of ensuring nuclear and radiological material is safe and secure. It is therefore vital that we prioritise our efforts on nuclear security and maintain our readiness to respond quickly and effectively to this threat.
At the same time, we must adapt to the changing face of technology; embracing the opportunities it presents and meeting the challenges that come with it. For example, cyberspace can present both a threat to nuclear security and provide tools for improving the systems and techniques underpinning nuclear security. It is right that we are focusing efforts in this space.
The UK is proud to have taken forward the commitments it made at the Nuclear Security Summit earlier this year on cyber security. We have successfully delivered two workshops on industrial control systems for international participants and completed a joint exercise programme with the United States. This work enhanced our combined ability to respond to major cyber-attacks on the civil nuclear sector.
We face diverse threats, and we need a strong, engaged and diverse workforce to counter them. An effective, versatile and global approach to nuclear security relies upon a diverse range of people, from all backgrounds and disciplines. I would like to emphasis this point, which is in line with the position I have taken in other sectors of the global economy. I see a major role for women in successful global nuclear and security industries. With this in mind, I’m delighted that the UK was able to fund the 2016 International Essay Competition on Nuclear Security to encourage newcomers into the sector. The winners were all women – coming from Singapore, Sudan, and the United Kingdom – and this demonstrates that valuable expertise is coming through the pipeline from all corners of the world and from women who have been underrepresented in the sector to date.
Ensuring a Sustainable Global Nuclear Security Architecture
The responsibility for securing nuclear and radiological material rests with us as states, and we need to ensure that the current nuclear security architecture is properly implemented within our home countries.
One area where there is collective recognition that more needs to be done is transport. Together there has been some good progress and the UK is committed to continuing this. We are pleased to have a world-leading nuclear shipping capability in the International Nuclear Services here at the conference. We have also hosted a follow-up International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission earlier this year, and found it a valuable opportunity to share good practices. We encourage others to host their own IPPAS missions.
Our Government is fully committed to further strengthening the global nuclear security architecture. To do this we must maintain the momentum of the Nuclear Security Summits, building on the raised profile of nuclear security, supporting the central role of the IAEA and addressing new and emerging security challenges.
Nuclear security cannot be achieved unilaterally. At the international level, we should all work together to build on recent successes including the successful entry-into-force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. We are committed to promoting the full implementation and universal take up of this and other legal instruments that strengthen global nuclear security.
I also want to acknowledge the central role that the IAEA plays in coordinating our efforts to strengthen nuclear security which complement the global architecture.
The UK Government’s reaffirmed commitment to new nuclear, coupled with the new emphasis on industrial strategy, makes this a prime opportunity for the nuclear industry. Of course, nuclear security will be vital component of this. Once completed, Hinkley Point C will provide up to 7 percent of the UK’s electricity needs and bring benefits to both the local and global supply chain. Beyond Hinkley, industry has set out proposals to construct five further power stations, with the potential to generate around 30 percent of the UK’s electricity needs by 2035.
In order to reap the benefits of nuclear energy and ensure it fulfils its true potential, we are taking action now to address the skills gap. We recently announced the National College for Nuclear, which is set to open its doors next year and aims to train 7,000 people by 2020 who we hope will go on to become next generation of nuclear innovators. The college will be complemented by our strong academic community and I am pleased that we have representatives from many of these institutions, including King’s College London, here at the conference.
We are at an exciting moment in the history of civil nuclear and this conference provides a prime opportunity to work together towards a stronger sustainable global nuclear security architecture that works now, and into the future.
Here is the wider international ministerial declaration issued on Monday evening:
International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions, 5-9 December 2016 IAEA Vienna, 5 December 2016
1. We, the Ministers of the Member States of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), gathered at the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Commitments and Actions, remain concerned about threats to nuclear security and therefore committed to continuously maintaining and further strengthening nuclear security through national actions, which may involve international cooperation, primarily through the IAEA, as well as through other relevant international organisations and initiatives, in accordance with their respective mandates and memberships.
2. We reaffirm the common goals of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, recognize that nuclear security contributes to international peace and security, and stress that progress in nuclear disarmament is critically needed and will continue to be addressed in all relevant fora, consistent with the relevant obligations and commitments of Member States.
3. In the spirit of the 2013 Ministerial Declaration of the International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts, we welcome the advances made by IAEA Member States in developing and enhancing their national nuclear security regimes. We also welcome the positive impact of the Agency’s increasing nuclear security efforts, while noting that much more work needs to be done.
4. We underline the importance of keeping pace with evolving challenges and threats to nuclear security. We affirm the important role of science, technology and engineering in understanding and addressing such challenges and threats, and commit ourselves to stay vigilant and continue to take steps to confront, reduce and eliminate them.
5. We reassert that the responsibility for nuclear security within a State rests entirely with that State, in accordance with its respective national and international obligations, to maintain at all times effective and comprehensive nuclear security of all nuclear and other radioactive material under its control.
6. We call upon all States to ensure that measures to strengthen nuclear security do not hamper international cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities.
7. We recognize that bilateral, regional and international cooperation can serve to strengthen nuclear security, and support, in this context, the central role of the IAEA in facilitating and coordinating international cooperation and in organizing Information Exchange Meetings with other organizations and initiatives on nuclear security.
8. We acknowledge and support the IAEA’s core nuclear security activities that assist States, upon request, in their efforts to establish effective and sustainable national nuclear security regimes, including guidance development, advisory services, and capacity building. Moreover, we encourage Member States to contribute to the Agency’s nuclear security assistance by sharing national expertise, best practices and lessons learned.
9. We recognise physical protection as a key element in nuclear security, and support the further development of the IAEA’s assistance in areas of importance to Member States such as nuclear
forensics, nuclear security detection architecture and response, information security, transport security, and insider threat mitigation, recognizing the need for appropriate measures to protect sensitive information in achieving this objective. In particular, we support the IAEA’s efforts to assist Member States to strengthen computer security, recognizing the threat of cyber-attacks against nuclear installations.
10. We welcome the entry into force of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection on Nuclear Material (CPPNM), look forward to its full implementation, and encourage IAEA’s continued efforts to promote universalization. We encourage all Member States that have not yet done so to become parties to the Amended CPPNM and also in other international nuclear security instruments such as the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT).
11. We will continue providing the necessary technical, human and financial resources, including through the Nuclear Security Fund, in line with our respective capacities and commitments, as required for the Agency to implement its nuclear security activities and to provide, upon request, the support needed by Member States.
12. We recognize that highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium in all their applications require special precautions to ensure their nuclear security and that it is of great importance that they be appropriately secured and accounted for, by and in the relevant State. We encourage the Member States concerned, on a voluntary basis, to further minimize HEU in civilian stocks and use LEU where technically and economically feasible.
13. We commit to maintain effective security of radioactive sources throughout their life cycle, consistent with the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. Moreover, we encourage the IAEA to promote and facilitate technical exchanges of knowledge, experiences and good practices on the use and security of high activity radioactive sources.
14. We commit to continue taking active steps to combat illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, to protect and secure all such material to ensure that it cannot be used by non-State actors in criminal or terrorist acts, and to continue efforts on our territories to prepare for recovering such material in case it has fallen out of regulatory control, taking into account relevant international instruments. We emphasize the importance of strong national legislative and regulatory frameworks for nuclear security.
15. We support the IAEA’s and Member States’ efforts to strengthen nuclear security culture and provide education and training opportunities in nuclear security, including by using national and regional Centres of Excellence and Nuclear Security Training and Support Centres, to ensure that the current and future generations of nuclear security professionals are well equipped to meet the challenge of ensuring effective and responsive national nuclear security regimes.
16. We welcome the consensus reached on the 60th GC Nuclear Security Resolution, and remain determined to build upon it. This Declaration and the 2016 International Conference on Nuclear Security will be taken into account in the consultation process between the Secretariat and the Member States on the IAEA’s 2018 – 2021 Nuclear Security Plan. We call upon the IAEA to continue to organize international conferences on Nuclear Security every three years and encourage all Member States to participate at a Ministerial level.
Reposting this – feeling very conflicted – on the one hand, happy that dedicated fracking activist Tina is so very well supported by NGOs and has been spared a jail sentence… but on the other hand so sad that Duncan who was an activist in these difficult times of nuclear cheerleading was not given the same kudos. He was working to raise awareness about the dangerous practices within this entrenched industry which is destroying our future. He was jailed with barely a ripple of media interest or empathy. Kind of speaks volumes.
RIP Duncan ….you Hero!
The boxes are ticked by those men who’ve been picked, from the keenest
Of yes men there, for checks done each day so the bosses can say, that
Their workforce takes extra care.
But the bosses were tricked by some men that they picked for a job that
All liars can do composing old fiction that begs a
Conviction for writing what still isn’t true.
But on they run with boxes ticked, while welding’s cracked and
Something’s dripped, inside the cell where Foremen looked: for hours on
End in ‘Logs and books recording all the names of crooks who would’nt
See and didn’t look, behind those windows two foot feet, where fell a
Steady drip of ticks.
Soon crystals formed as crystals do, from tiny holes where pressure grew,
A mist of droplets spewing out, a sight that should have brought a shout
From the Foremen ticking thrice each day when signing names for easy pay:
The country paying bigger lumps to lazy men for growing dumps.
Some columns formed with lost control, as Foremen ticked and shirkers
Stole five minutes here then hours there forsaking safety’s measured stare
For extra tea and flashy things, that overtime some boxes bring with
Elements whose mass can change the genes of everything in range.
Trapped outside their ticking box where spillage flows like molten rocks
With dangers left to grow unseen until one idle Chargehand’s scream said
“Shut it down and do it quick before we’re all in deepest shit there’s been
Another situation, critical to every nation.”
By Duncan Ball
Talented poet and former nuclear foreman Duncan Ball died on July 17th aged 49. He was a man who tried repeatedly to blow the whistle on unsafe practices in the Magnox plant at Sellafield where he was employed as a foreman. His subsequent experience followed the same route as the dissident scientists who were sacked from Sellafield after expressing doubts about nuclearsafety in the 70’s (NEW STATESMAN July 1983)
Having tried all avenues to raise the alarm about unsafe practices causing releases of radiation, in 2004 Duncan left what he called a “literary bomb” in the Sellafield visitor centre. This was nothing more harmful to the general public than a disc which contained a detailed log of dangerous practices within Sellafield. Duncan who lived in Penrith was jailed for 2 years.
Duncan was a Founder Member of Radiation Free Lakeland . He was described and discredited by the nuclear industry as “obsessive” but the truth is he was a hero whose only crime was trying to alert his employers and the wider public to dangerous practices in the nuclear industry. His voice will still be heard for generations to come through his wonderful and prescient poetry – Cumbrians should listen to the truth of what Duncan had to say