Is Cumbria Being Frogmarched into Nuclear AND Coal?
The plan to reopen the Whitehaven coal mine under the Irish Sea has been rumbling along for a few years with no raised eyebrows. Why are alarm bells not ringing out loud and clear? This nasty plan will go before Cumbria County Council in May (date tbc)
Most Gaseous, Dangerous Pit in the Kingdom
These are strange, confusing days. There is all round praise being heaped on the plans to reopen Whitehaven coal mine on Cumbrias West Coast, the most gaseous, dangerous pit in the Kingdom. In 1815, Sir Humphrey Davy’s invention of the miner’s safety lamp was first tested in Whitehaven Coking Coal Mine because of its reputation for “firedamp” (methane) and fatal explosions. By 1816 the Davey lamp was in full use in collieries around Great Britain. A letter of gratitude was written by Whitehaven Miners to Sir Humphrey Davy in 1816….many of the miners signing the letter later lost their lives in the mine.
The West Coast of Cumbria below both ground and sea is a labyrinthine honeycomb of mines. Not only coking coal but iron ore and many other minerals. This vast honeycomb of mines stretches to Sellafield. One of the earliest records of coal mining in West Cumberland dates to 1560, the last pit, the Haig, closed in 1986. There are old mine maps but these are far, far from complete. Understandably so, given the length of time that this area has been extensively mined. Many of the miners are still there in the dangerous honeycomb. Entombed in the same collapsed and sea inundated mine pits that the West Cumbria Mining Company wants to reopen.
Infamous Copeland By Election
In the recent infamous Copeland by election the candidates without exception declared themselves to be “big fans” of reopening the West Cumbria Coal Mine. They did this in true Alice in Wonderland style, expressing concerns about climate change while praising the plan to reopen the coal mine. For many years UK citizens have been subjected to a constant bombardment of disingenuous propaganda: ‘nuclear power is the answer to climate change and coal is far worse than nuclear for the climate’. The purpose of this propaganda being that we should welcome nuclear with open arms, while shunning coal. George Monbiot has consistently and aggressively set the pace: “Nuclear scare stories are a gift to the truly lethal coal industry.” Monbiot’s constant mantra in the last several years is that those who oppose nuclear power are uninformed, bigoted idiots. Now it appears that the idiots in Cumbria are being groomed to welcome both coal AND nuclear.
A recent article in the Daily Mail paints a homely image of a local mining firm returning to its traditional roots in Cumbria. This image is not quite what it seems. The £14.7m private equity financing for reopening Whitehaven mine has been put up by EMR Capital who say: “We are a specialist resources private equity manager whose team has a proven track record in the three dimensions critical to achieving superior returns:
- Successful resources exploration, development, operation and commercialisation
- Deep linkages to Asian markets – in particular, with commodity purchasers and end users, resources companies, investors and governments
- Private equity investment management”
In 2013 the Managing Director of EMR Capital, Jason Chang featured in the Taiwanese Press. The Taipei Times reported: “Jason Chang apologized” for his company’s recent “wastewater pollution incident “ and that ASE (Advanced Semiconductor Engineering) will “donate up to NT$3 billion (US$101 million) over the next 30 years to help promote environmental protection” in Taiwan. “ASE was fined NT$600,000 for discharging toxic wastewater into the Houjin River.”
The PR for reopening the coal mine seems to have worked its charms on the local Allerdale and Copeland Green party for whom the coal mine gets a thumbs up as it ‘will reduce imports of the coking coal necessary to produce wind turbines.’ This argument holds no water as in order to recoup money and make a killing the coal from Whitehaven would be aggressively exported worldwide. The coal and its by-products could end up doing anything from being burnt in coal fired power stations, processed into coking coal, making the vast amounts of steel necessary for a giant geological dump for radioactive wastes. The coal from Whitehaven was first processed into coking coal for the iron industry in 1723. Coke production did not however match local demand and tonnes were brought in from Durham. The Durham coke was superior in having lower phosphorus content, a factor of importance to the local hematite iron industry.
Turning the ground to a liquid mess
There are other ways to achieve the high temperatures necessary for steel production but even if processing coal into coking coal was the only way, the close proximity of Sellafield and the proposed Moorside site should knock this dangerous plan on the head. Extractive activities are known to cause earthquakes. There are two contenders for the strongest earthquake in this region a 5.0 ML earthquake on 11 August 1786 had an epicentre just offshore from Whitehaven and a depth of about 16 km; a 5.1 ML earthquake on 17 March 1843 had an epicentre offshore from Barrow and a depth of about 15 km. This may not be unrelated to the escalating mining activities going on the time. The only area in the UK to have experienced a liquefaction event is the village of Rampside, near Barrow in 1865. “High intensity and liquefaction phenomena are usually associated only with relatively large magnitude earthquakes. An earthquake in 1865 in the northwest of England suggests that a sufficiently shallow small event can also produce liquefaction. The effects are well documented in historical sources and include sand fountaining. Modern investigation is confined to documentary evidence owing to the tidal environment of the area where liquefaction occurred. Analysis shows that the felt area of the earthquake was probably only about 200 km2; however, heavy damage occurred in the village of Rampside and the maximum intensity is assessed at 8. Liquefaction is not uncommon at this intensity, but such a high intensity is not usually produced by such small earthquakes. The magnitude was probably in the range 2.5–3.5 ML.” pure and applied geophysics November 1998, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 733–745
West Cumbria Mining are inviting the public to ask questions so I asked the following:
“How would the mine be dewatered? What is the full carbon footprint for one year of peak production. Including predicted dewatering, mining and export operations? What agreements have been made with St Bees School, Lowther Estate, regarding the mineral rights? How are the vast network of faults and dips mapped? (this would have a bearing on distance to the sea bed) What is the proximity to the proposed Moorside site and Sellafield?” The reply from Communications Manager Helen Davies was: “At this time I am busy preparing for our next major stakeholder event, which is scheduled to run on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th March. It would be much easier to discuss your questions and provide answers from our team of specialists who will be at the event, rather than attempting to answer them in writing now. The event on the 2nd March is by invitation only – please find attached an invite, we would be delighted if you could come along to meet with us. Caroline Leatherdale, our environmental specialist will be there, together with a wide range of our technical team.”
Does your lump of coal feel lucky?”
Radiation Free Lakeland
some more info…
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.”
Jack Lenox is Green Party candidate for Copeland
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
Jeremy Corbyn Backs Moorside Nuclear Plant Planned For Copeland
Key issue for by-election
Paul Waugh Executive Editor, Politics, HuffingtonPost UK
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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 Guardian had 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.
From NuGen’s website ….
“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.”
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.
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.”
First published at 15:11, Thursday, 04 September 2008
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Review of the year – Radiation Free Lakeland.
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 6th 2016 RADIOACTIVE WASTE ON THE IRISH SEA BED RESUSPENDED BY NUGENS BOREHOLE DRILLING – NO DEBATE-NO VOTE-NO NOTHING Radiation Free Lakeland send letter of objection. NuGen’s 40 (or more) offshore “exploratory” boreholes would churn up the biggest nuclear dump in the world . The only chance the public gets to object is in what the Marine Management Organisation laughingly calls a “public consultation. In contrast the wind turbines off Walney were hugely debated by local councillors, one of the concerns being (quite rightly) the churning up of radioactive silts.
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.”
March 11th REMEMBER FUKUSHIMA – STOP MOORSIDE DEMONSTRATION Many thanks to everyone who came along today to Remember Fukushima at Whitehaven. Especially members of Lancaster CND who travelled from Lancashire.
April 24th FOCUS ON PYLONS = PYLON THE PRESSURE FOR MOORSIDE? Many of you will have seen the article in the Guardian and other national papers on the “fury over Lake District Pylons” quite a few of us have commented on the Guardian website about it, and have written about the superficial focus on the pylons on the blog and in letters to the press time and again.
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 20th 85% OF CUMBRIANS SAY NO TO MOORSIDE WHILE NUGEN PEDDLE THEIR FAIRYTALE IN BECKERMET North West Evening Mail Poll poll is far larger than the responses to the first NuGen CONsultation and we suspect far more representative of Cumbria.
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
22nd September URANIUM HEXAFLOURIDE: CHESHIRE’S HIDDEN MENACE STOCKPILED Our colleagues at CLOSE CAPENHURST have dared to ask the questions “How Much Depleted Hex Is At Capenhust ? ? ? How Much Hex ? Uranium Hexafluoride is highly toxic, radioactive, corrosive to most metals, and reacts violently with water.
29th Sept NEW REPORT REVEALS: EDF NUCLEAR PLANTS AT RISK OF CATASTROPHIC FAILURE A new report finds that 28 nuclear reactors, 18 of them EDF plants in France and one at Sizewell in the UK, are at risk of failure ‘including core meltdown’ due to flaws in safety-critical components in reactor vessels and steam generators
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 11th WHAT WILL BE POWERING YOUR DINNER THIS CHRISTMAS?
New Campaign Launched in Lancaster– Don’t Buy Nuclear Waste! To switch to a 100% renewable electricity supplier start here: http://www.greenelectricity.org/
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.”
*BRITAIN’S NUCLEAR INCOMPETENCE: 1,000 danger incidents reported*
*BRITAIN’S nuclear regulator has been accused of downplaying almost 1,000
dangerous incidents that have been recorded as “anomalies” at power plants
and military bases across the country. *
By Siobhan McFadyen
Daily Express: 10:27, Tue, Dec 27, 2016 |
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
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 – READ IT AND WEEP
Nirex 2004 report oct04 – on strategy for influencing its image (text searchable)
Jamie Reed MP vows to break a contract