original dream for nuclear power was that it would create a world free
from deprivation and suffering; instead, with its need for a
rigorous security system, it is
opening up the prospect of a repressive
society in which dissent can no longer be tolerated."
Peter Bunyard, "Nuclear Britain", 1981, New English Library.
Last up-dated, 7/1/19
temptation to tell a chief in a great position the things he most likes
to hear is the commonest explanation of mistaken policy. Thus
the outlook of the leader on whose decisions fateful events depend is
usually far more sanguine than the brutal facts admit."
Sir Winston Churchill
Thus one might imagine the impact of the special advisors seconded from the likes of Électricité
de France is rather greater than the more sane and less biased opinions
of experts from a wide variety of fields who are pointing to nuclear
power's inherent weaknesses and dangers.
You Can Trust Us (if you are gullible enough or rewarded well enough!)
2014 Cavendish Fluor a joint venture between Babcock's subsidiary,
Cavendish Nuclear and the American company Fluor, commenced a
decommissioning programme worth four and a half billion pounds in the
first seven years. Further work was on offer in a
subsequent seven year period. The contract was due to run
until 2028, but in
early 2017 the wheels came off the wagon as Energy secretary Greg Clark
had to announce that the NDA would cancel its £6.1bn contract
with Cavendish Fluor to clean up twelve nuclear sites around the U.K..
was a tacit admission in the minister's announcement that not all had
gone openly and honestly in awarding the contract. Around
£122m of taxpayers’ money has now been used to settle a
case with unsuccessful bid competitors, Bechtel and Energy Solutions.
legal dispute was brought by Bechtel and Energy Solutions which
revolved around how the Cavendish Fluor Partnership had won the tender.
Following the court case, High
Court judge Justice Peter Fraser concluded that the selection process
had been manipulated. The judge went on to say that
Cavendish Fluor Partnership should have been disqualified from the
tender if the NDA had followed the terms of its own tender process
correctly, adding that the selection process had been fudged. “By
the word ‘fudging’, I mean choosing an outcome, and
manipulating the evaluation to reach that outcome.”
The High Court ruled that the NDA had "committed multiple, manifest errors in evaluating the (losing) RSS bid and the (winning) CFP bid".
was by choosing a score high enough to avoid that undesirable outcome,
rather than arriving at a score by properly considering the content of
the tender against the scoring criteria.”
much, then for integrity, openness, and honesty. The
nuclear industry is always complaining about being denigrated
unjustly. Yet when a judge makes these findings, it is easy
to understand why members of the public tend to disbelieve everything
the managers say.
somewhat embarrassed government hastily set up an enquiry into the
awarding of the contract and its procurement, with former National Grid
chief executive Steve Holliday leading it. Stephen Henwood,
the former chairman and John Clarke, the former chief executive of the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) are currently trying to block
the publication of criticisms contained in the report. A
week after the court case, Clarke announced his retirement in 2016, in
a move described by some as "surprising". In February, 2017, Henwood
announced he was stepping down.
article "Nuclear clean-up inquiry in meltdown", by John Collingridge,
in The Sunday Times, 7/1/19, says that Henwood and Clarke, joined by
Robert Higgins, former security director and Graeme Rankin, who headed
the competition and Sean Balmer, former commercial director, are upset
because they feel the conduct of the enquiry has "raised serious
concerns over the legality, equality and fairness of significant
aspects of inquiry."
to see the boot on the other foot. Members of the
public have long complained about the manipulations of the pro-nuclear
Dealing With the Waste
We came across a couple of expert papers on the problems of nuclear waste disposal:
Cemented waste deterioration by sulphate attack: chemistry and effect on structural and mechanical properties
decades, the nuclear industry has used cement-based materials to
immobilise low- and intermediate-level short-lived and long-lived
radioactive waste (precipitation sludge, concentrates, resins, …
) originating from the operation of nuclear power plants and from the
chemical reprocessing of spent fuel (IAEA, 2013). Whereas because of
the simplicity of the technique one could expect that this practice
would result in a stable waste form that is well compatible with the
final disposal site, there are many examples that show that this is not
always the case, e.g. the gel-formation attributed to
alkali-silica-reaction (ASR) in the concrete operational waste of the
nuclear power plant of Doel (ONDRAF/NIRAS, 2014).
Besides these processes, the mixing of large quantities of salt (e.g.
NaNO3, Na2SO4, Na3BO3, … ) with cement, mortar or concrete
additionally results in complications in terms of curing time and
mechanical stability of the waste (e.g. IAEA, 2013), and results in the
formation of other types of (Na-bearing) minerals.
An Energy Department expert panel has raised questions that suggest
neither government regulators nor the utilities operating commercial
nuclear power plants understand the potential impact of used
high-burnup fuel on storage and transport of used nuclear fuel, and,
ultimately, on the cost of nuclear waste management.
Spent nuclear power fuel accumulated over the past 50 years is bound up
in more than 241,000 long rectangular assemblies containing tens of
millions of fuel rods. The rods, in turn, contain trillions of small,
irradiated uranium pellets. After bombardment with neutrons in the
reactor core, about 5 to 6 percent of the pellets are converted to a
myriad of radioactive elements with half-lives ranging from seconds to
millions of years. Standing within a meter of a typical spent nuclear
fuel assembly guarantees a lethal radiation dose in minutes.
Heat from the radioactive decay in spent nuclear fuel is also a
principal safety concern. Several hours after a full reactor core is
offloaded, it can initially give off enough heat from radioactive decay
to match the energy capacity of a steel mill furnace. This is hot
enough to melt and ignite the fuel’s reactive zirconium cladding
and destabilize a geological disposal site it is placed in. By 100
years, decay heat and radioactivity drop substantially but still remain
dangerous. For these reasons, the US Government Accountability Office
(GAO) informed the Congress in 2013 that spent nuclear fuel is
“considered one of the most hazardous substances on Earth.”
(Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
While The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Journal has this to say:
"Various interactions may be expected
from gaseous or aqueous media that are in contact with the materials of
the waste package. For metallic containers, various forms of corrosion
that result from interactions with water and oxygen are important, as
are the effects of hydrogen, which may result from radiolysis of water
and vapor or galvanic coupling with borehole liner or container support
structures. The environment may produce hydrostatic or lithostatic
pressure, which may alter the stress state in waste-package components.
Radiation will change the environment and create species with the
potential for accelerated degradation of the waste-package components.
Microbial species, if they are present in significant quantities, have
the potential for interactions with the waste-package materials."
Routine Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Reactors
We recently came across the under facts on the American website, Nuclear Information and Resource Centre:
IT DOESN’T TAKE AN ACCIDENT
1) It doesn’t take an accident for a nuclear power plant to release radioactivity into our air, water and soil. All it takes is the plant’s everyday routine operation, and federal regulations permit these radioactive releases.
2) Radioactivity is measured in "curies." A large medical center, with as many as 1000 laboratories in which radioactive materials are used, may have a combined inventory of only about two curies. In contrast, an average operating nuclear power reactor will have approximately 16 billion curies in its reactor core. This is the equivalent long-lived radioactivity of at least 1,000 Hiroshima bombs.
3) A reactor’s fuel rods, pipes, tanks and valves can leak. Mechanical failure and human error can also cause leaks. As a nuclear plant ages, so does its equipment - and leaks generally increase.
4) Some contaminated water is intentionally removed from the reactor vessel to reduce the amount of the radioactive and corrosive chemicals that damage valves and pipes. The water is filtered and then either recycled back into the cooling system or released into the environment.
5) A typical 1000-megawatt pressurized-water reactor (with a cooling tower) takes in 20,000 gallons of river, lake or ocean water per minute for cooling, circulates it through a 50-mile maze of pipes, returns 5,000 gallons per minute to the same body of water, and releases the remainder to the atmosphere as vapor. A 1000-megawatt reactor without a cooling tower takes in even more water--as much as one-half million gallons per minute. The discharge water is contaminated with radioactive elements in amounts that are not precisely known or knowable, but are biologically active.
6) Some radioactive fission gases, stripped from the reactor cooling water, are contained in decay tanks for days before being released into the atmosphere through filtered rooftop vents. Some gases leak into the power plant buildings’ interiors and are released during periodic "purges" and "ventings." These airborne gases contaminate not only the air, but also soil and water.
7) Radioactive releases from a nuclear power reactor’s routine operation often are not fully detected or reported. Accidental releases may not be completely verified or documented.
8) Accurate, economically-feasible filtering and monitoring technologies do not exist for some of the major reactor by-products, such as radioactive hydrogen (tritium) and noble gases, such as krypton and xenon. Some liquids and gases are retained in tanks so that the shorter-lived radioactive materials can break down before the batch is released to the environment.
9) Government regulations allow radioactive water to be released to the environment containing "permissible" levels of contamination. Permissible does not mean safe.
10) Detectors at reactors are set to allow contaminated water to be released, unfiltered, if below "permissible" legal levels.
11) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission relies upon self-reporting and computer modeling from reactor operators to track radioactive releases and their projected dispersion. A significant portion of the environmental monitoring data is extrapolated – virtual, not real.
12) Accurate accounting of all radioactive wastes released to the air, water and soil from the entire reactor fuel production system is simply not available. The system includes uranium mines and mills, chemical conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication plants, nuclear power reactors, and radioactive waste storage pools, casks, and trenches. Increasing economic pressures to reduce costs, due to the deregulation of the electric power industry, could further reduce the already unreliable monitoring and reporting of radioactive releases. Deferred maintenance can increase the radioactivity released - and the risks.
13) Many of the reactor’s radioactive by-products continue giving off radioactive particles and rays for enormously long periods – described in terms of "half-lives." A radioactive material gives off hazardous radiation for at least ten half-lives. One of the radioactive isotopes of iodine (iodine- 129) has a half-life of 16 million years; technetium-99 = 211,000 years; and plutonium-239 = 24,000 years. Xenon-135, a noble gas, decays into cesium-135, an isotope with a 2.3 million-year half-life.
14) It is scientifically established that low-level radiation damages tissues, cells, DNA and other vital molecules – causing programmed cell death (apoptosis), genetic mutations, cancers, leukemia, birth defects, and reproductive, immune and endocrine system disorders.
The regulators at Ofgem have announced that
they are to introduce "stress testing" following the recent demise of one of
the smaller energy suppliers. Several other lesser-known ones are finding life difficult.
GB Energy Supply went bust last week, and their demise has led to
concerns that some of the other smaller companies may not have
sufficient resources to tide them over the various difficult times.
Around 50 gas and electricity suppliers are now competing in the
market, each trying to maintain some sort of competition with each
other. A few years ago there were only half that number, but the
profit margins available from falling wholesale prices must have been
The strange nature of the market means that should one of the companies go bust while
owing customers money, those customer's accounts will be transferred to
another company, and that company can be made to share the deficit in
order to reimburse the customer.
It is to be wondered whether the stress testing will go further up the chain and extend to the likes of Toshiba and Électricité de France
- if so, there may be troubles ahead.
Thoughts on Power Lines
In 2005 the "Draper Study" looked at 33000 cases of childhood cancer
from 1962 to 1995 and their location (at the time of birth) in relation
to the nearest high voltage lines (275 & 400 kV), finding an
association between childhood leukaemia and the power
lines. A 1.7-fold increase close to the lines, reducing
We can find no information on the duration of their
proximity. It may be that just the early exposure was
sufficient to cause damage which later manifested itself as leukaemia,
or it may have taken a longer period of exposure. Not sure
of any correlation between exposure duration and illness.
We've always felt that long-term exposure to low-level fields (from
power lines, cell phones and masts, as well as radioactive sources),
would have the same effect, ultimately, as short-term high-level fields.
An electromagnetic field (emf) reduces exponentially with distance
from source but, in the study, effects were noted at up to 600 metres
distance. The report concluded, "We have no satisfactory explanation for our results in terms of causation by magnetic fields or association with other factors."
Presumably, the proposed loads for the new power line will be at least
400kV. Yet, apropos the Wylfa proposals, the relevant National
Grid article contained within the website http://northwalesconnection.com
states categorically that, "No negative health effects relating to
exposure to emfs have been found". This is patently
untrue. Effects have been noted but their mechanism is not understood, nor are the causal factors.
Similar statements were made in relation to cell phone masts (the
Stewart report) and nuclear power stations (reports by Doll and
Presumably the emfs will vary according to the prevailing and
fluctuating loads - it is to be hoped that figures to be issued by
National Grid will relate to the maximum levels of emf rather than an
The equipment used to transfer overhead lines to underground, as at
Menai, will result in quite loud low frequency humming. In
some cases this has been found to be around 60dBA, the equivalent of a
car engine running nearby. What level of nuisance can be
Even along the route of the power line, audible noise is likely to be a problem:
As the Beauly - Denny installation is a similar network extension to
that proposed for Wylfa, we suggest: similar terrain, similar problems.
Which resources are required to supply Wylfa with power, as opposed to being required for the export of generated power?
National Grid profits rose 6% to £4.1 billion last
year. They can easily afford to either bury the cables or
take them via a submarine route.
The economic appraisal between overhead lines and subterranean or
submarine cabling have been performed using a simple capital cost
Scottish Hydro Electric and Scottish Power (2007) Proposed Beauly to
Denny 400kV Overhead Transmission Line: The use of underground cables
as an alternative to overhead line. Report APL/STG-41, Final Report
This has (unsurprisingly) tended to favour overhead lines as the
preferred option. Again, on the Beauly-Denny line, for
example, a range of cost-escalation factors of between 7.1 –
15.6 was devised for undergrounding compared to a 400kV overhead line
depending on the landscape character, presence of water courses,
viaducts, road crossings and so on. Another calculation
takes account of whole life-cycle costs for a 400kV transmission
infra-structure and finds the average escalation factor to be in the
region of 4.6 but recognises the actual value will be sensitive to a
number of factors such as the length undergrounded and the load factor.
What will the impact be of the termination of the Euratom agreement, in
terms of potential investment at Wylfa (the cancellation of which would
mean there is no need for any National Grid expansion) and also
timescale? It seems likely that, because of staffing
problems at the Nuclear Inspectorate - initially revealed by a report
by Dr. Mike Weightman in 2011 - the termination of Euraton membership
will entail difficulties in achieving objectives within the current
Search for the weightmanfinal-report.pdf on government websites
for an assessment of the state and future of the nuclear inspectorate.
Will compensation be offered for reduced amenity and house value?
(Ref. Sims, S. and Dent,
P. (2005) High voltage overhead power lines and property values: a
residential study in the UK. Urban Studies. Vol.42(4), pp.665-694.
A version can be found at:
We recommend that anyone interested in electro-magnetic fields should
visit the host website where comprehensive collection of papers on the
subject can be found:
From the Pages of Hansard, 2010
"Sellafield is the
largest and most hazardous site in the Nuclear Decommissioning
Authority's estate and is home to an extraordinary accumulation of
hazardous waste, much of it stored in outdated nuclear facilities.
It is run for the Authority by Sellafield Limited, the company
licensed by regulators to operate the site. In November, 2008,
the Authority contracted with an international consortium —
Nuclear Management Partners Limited (NMP) — to improve Sellafield
Limited's management of the site.
"When the Committee
first examined progress in decommissioning facilities at Sellafield in
November, 2012, it was concerned by the failure of successive
governments to tackle issues on the site while total lifetime costs for
decommissioning the site continued to rise each year. By the
time the Committee revisited the inquiry 12 months later, costs had
risen a further £3 billion with the latest cash estimates
for dealing with nuclear waste on the site exceeding £70 billion.
NMP had not provided the clear leadership, strong management and
improved capabilities needed to deliver the performance required at
Sellafield. The Committee questioned the Authority’s
decision to extend NMP’s contract for a further five year
term. On 13th
January this year, the Department for Energy and Climate Change
announced that it was terminating the contract with NMP in order to
simplify the relationship between the NDA and Sellafield Ltd and bring
greater clarity and focus on achieving progress and value for money.
This inquiry will allow the Committee to examine progress made
at the site in the last year and expectations for the simplified
So, there we have it. Reasons to worry about the way things are
going at Sellafield, and reasons why "Moorside" shouldn't be
built within its shadow. Are we convinced by the current
statements from those with vested interests and the strongest possible
self-interest in nuclear expansion? Strangely, no.
The View of Natural England
as to how NuGen's proposals can be accommodated in a Marine
Conservation Zone, we wrote to the appropriate government body:
the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, or JNCC as they prefer
to think of themselves. The JNNC "co-ordinates nature
conservation advice at a UK level and advises UK Government on
scientific and policy matters relating to nature conservation
internationally" apparently. They told us that within each
country, the separate statutory bodies are responsible for nature and
landscape conservation. Sadly, they then seemed to think that
the Cumbrian coast was somewhere in Wales and supplied details of the
Welsh website for us to obtain further information. We reckoned
we knew better, and went for Natural England, another branch of the
same government body.
There we found many interesting statements, assessments, and aims - all
of which seem totally against what NuGen are proposing. Yet
these are the people charged with giving government the best advice for
the preservation of our environment.
For example, they note that the sea surface temperatures vary
considerably, range from 4 °C in winter to 18 °C in summer and
note that a rise in sea temperature (no period given) has caused a
change in seabed biological communities, particularly in the eastern
Irish Sea. This, they say, has caused a decline in cold-water
species and has contributed to the spread of non-native species.
It will be nteresting how a rise of 13° will affect the area, then.
Although in other sections the proposed expansion of the nuclear
industry is noted, there is no analysis of the effect on the
environment arising from it. One point of interest is that they
note the shortage of water supplies in the area, and forecast that due
to global warming winters will become wetter and stormier, while the
summers will become hotter and drier. Might be another serious
problem for Moorside, then.
coast from Walney Island to St. Bees, including the Duddon Estuary and
the estuary complex at Ravenglass, has a number of internationally and
nationally designated nature conservation sites. These are
important for their coastal sand dune, vegetated shingle and salt marsh
communities as well as for breeding seabirds, wintering waders and
wildfowl, natterjack toad and specialist flora. As well as the
coastline, the area supports nationally and internationally protected
lowland rivers in the form of the Ehen and Derwent and lowland
raised bogs around the Duddon Estuary.
area has a diverse economy historically based on coal mining, open cast
mining, ship-building and agriculture, with the developing and
expanding energy industries and tourism being important employers and
adding to development pressures.
Tranquillity as well as a strong sense of place and history all
contribute to the area’s recreational value which, combined with
its nature conservation interests associated with the rivers and the
coast and strongly influenced by water quality, makes the area
attractive to both residents and visitors. The West Cumbria
Coastal Plain [area] provides the access gateway to the western fells
and lakes of the Lake District National Park for those seeking quiet
recreational experiences. The St. Bees Heritage Coast,
Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, and Hadrian’s Cycleway
(part of the National Cycle Network), and the Coast to Coast path and
England Coast Path all cross the [area], bringing visitors to
experience the area’s natural and cultural heritage.
Statements of Environmental Opportunities:
Conserve and enhance the unique open coast and estuarine landscapes
with their distinct geology, improving and connecting habitats and
their species, and enabling natural coastal processes to occur to
enhance and improve the coast’s ability to adapt to and mitigate
the impact of climate change. [Or the impact of the heating of the Irish Sea by a huge nuclear generating plant.]
Manage and enhance the farmed environment to secure viable and
sustainable farming, improving water quality of the rivers and coast,
reducing soil erosion, strengthening historic landscape character,
conserving heritage features and archaeology, supporting species
populations that are dependent on this area, and improving habitat
by covering the land and shores with a huge nuclear generating plant,
relying on NuGen to transplant flora and fauna under their mitigation
plans, hoping that the affected flora and fauna don't object, curl up
Improve and enhance sustainable recreation, enabling people to
experience the peace and beauty of the area and learn more about its
biological, geological and heritage assets and natural processes, while
managing visitor pressure to conserve the highly valued tranquillity
and protect the sensitive semi-natural habitats and species found
by covering the land and shores with a huge nuclear generating plant,
relying on NuGen to provide entertainment and redesign the natural
Manage industrial and former industrial sites to accommodate both their
economic and environmental potential by managing new energy industries,
growth areas and their associated infrastructure to provide social and
environmental gain while minimising pollution and disturbance and
to improve ecological connectivity in the landscape, particularly in
urban-fringe areas. [Or
by covering the land and shores with a huge nuclear generating plant,
because we daren't stand up to the government as they pay our wages.]
A view of the western fells inland from Sellafield.
Sellafield's complex looking south from Braystones Tarnside Caravan site.
of the remarkable things about photographs appearing in adverts for the
area is the way in which Sellafield rarely appears. For example
just look at the Hoseasons' advertisement on line at http://www.hoseasons.co.uk/Tarnside_Park.
Just a difference of a few degrees to the right of the photo in
the advert you get the full impact of the industrial complex - as you
can see in the picture above right. Several people have
commented to us that they were shocked to find they were so close to
Imagine how the NuGen site will look! Sellafield will
indeed disappear - hidden behind the giant reactors and cooling towers, and a full mile and
a half nearer. (As the radioactive seagull flies, Sellafield is
about two and a half miles distant.) How honest will the
promotions be then, and will those tourists taken in by clever tactics wish to
return to spend more money, or will they decide to go somewhere less
industrial, thereby killing the tourist industry and making the entire
region even more dependent on this monopolistic and dangerous industry?
Features of the Area (Quotes from the document drawn up by Natural England)
features for visitors and locals seeking quiet recreational experiences
include the coastline, coastal ports, historical assets such as
Hadrian’s Wall, forts, the Lake District National Park and the
St. Bees Heritage Coast. The area also acts as gatekeeper
to the isolated, ‘dead-end’, west-facing valleys of the
western Lake District. National Trails include the
Hadrian’s Wall Cycleway (part of the National Cycle Network) from
Ravenglass northwards, the Coast to Coast Walk heading east from St.
Bees Head, and the England Coast Path National Trail.
coastline, distinctive coastal settlements, historic assets,
Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and associated forts, the Lake
District National Park (12% of which is in the [area]) and the St Bees
Heritage Coast are also popular features for visitors and locals
seeking quiet recreational experiences.
aim is the protection of the expansive views across the Irish Sea to
the Isle of Man and south Scotland and across Morecambe Bay.
of fishing and mining industries has led to the increasing importance
of recreation and tourism and associated pressures for holiday
accommodation and other visitor facilities. [We would add that this does not need NuGen's palliative schemes. No NuGen, no need.]
are many extant routes through the area: the local National
Cycle Network from Ravenglass extends northwards, the Coast to Coast
Walk heads east from St. Bees Head, and there is the England Coast
Path National Trail.
Some of the Aims:
manage and enhance the distinctive coastal landscape with its diverse
range of coastal salt marsh, sand dune, and vegetated shingle
communities, pebble beaches, honeycomb worm reefs, open coast soft
cliffs and St. Bees Head high sandstone cliff characters and their
associated semi-natural habitats.
Conserve and maintain areas of undisturbed coastline from development to protect its open views and tranquillity.
conserve and restore lowland river valleys and their riparian habitats,
in particular those in the catchments of the rivers Derwent, Ehen, Esk,
Irt and Mite.
and conserve the character of traditional rural villages, linear mining
settlements and historic civic buildings by using local vernacular
styles and building materials for restoration and new developments,
such as use of red St. Bees sandstone. [So, will we see red St. Bees sandstone nuclear reactor buildings?]
developments that allow the natural environment to act as an asset to
attract investment and skilled professionals to the area to drive
economic growth based on a high quality natural environment. [Or let NuGen end it all?]
the wider green infrastructure benefits of development that
accommodates biodiversity, with a particular focus on species
characteristic of the area for both economic and environmental benefit.
[Natural or NuGen's interpretation thereof?]
Significant industry and processing plants, including nuclear power generation and manufacturing, are key water abstractors.
Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England's View
on the CPRE map of tranquillity (2006) the most tranquil part of the
NCA is along the coast, particularly between Millom and St Bees Head
and at either end of Walney Island. i.e. one of the bits that NuGen
wish to build their reactors on.
CPRE state that tranquil areas are under threat. New power lines to
service planned nuclear power stations with 15 miles in Cumbria within
the Lake District national park alone. Highest level of intrusion
includes Sellafield complex.
How many of these laudable aims and ambitions are going to be viable if NuGen is permitted to build its reactors?
Why aren't these conservators and protectors telling the government that the entire scheme is wrong?
important alternative projects have been excluded from the consultation
documents, but they, like the projected Moorside, will have a
devastating effect on the area - what will it be like if they all get
the go ahead?
Ref.: 15.10.2 Marine and Coastal Physicl Processes of NuGen's consultation documents.
- National Grid – North West Coast Connections (National Grid);
- West Cumbria Mining Project (coal mine) (West Cumbria Mining);
- West Cumbria Water Supply Pipeline (United Utilities);
- Walney Extension Wind Farm (Dong Energy);
- Barrow-in-Furness Site (BAE Systems);
- Ulverston Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility (GSK);
- Heysham New Nuclear Power Station (EDF Energy); and
- Tidal Lagoon West Cumbria (Tidal Lagoon Power).
How convenient, too, that once
again we can consider the Moorside project as it if were in isolation
and that all these other destructive projects, as with Sellafield, do
not exist and no-one needs to worry about the holistic effect.
Despite the reams of propaganda, there is no view or apparent
consideration that the site is just a few yards from the biggest and
most dangerous stockpile of nuclear waste in the world! Amazing
how misleading these things can be - almost as if it were deliberate!
Further Thoughts On Cooling Towers
is a mildly radioactive by-product of industry production lines.
It is the most heavily discharged waste across the nuclear industry.
BNFL's Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria and Chapelcross
nuclear power station in south-west Scotland discharge millions of
litres of tritiated water and air every year. Fourteen years
ago, the Environment Agency launched a crackdown after a report by
specialists from the National Radiological Protection Board and St
Bart's Hospital in London disclosed that tritium was at least twice as
dangerous to humans as previously thought.
us consider the implications of building cooling towers alongside a
factory discharging tritium: According to Dr.
Fairlie, "Because of the low range of
its β particles, radiation exposures from tritium only occur when
it is inside the body – that is, tritium is considered an
internal emitter. This does not mean that tritium outside
the body is harmless, as tritiated water vapour readily permeates the
skin and, when inhaled, easily transfers across lung and buccal
has an affinity with water and easily becomes combined with it.
So, if Sellafield is discharging the stuff into the atmosphere - whether in gaseous or liquid form - and it
is blown across the steam being emitted by the cooling towers, will the
water droplets not become tritiated water, fall to the ground and
pollute every living thing?
Sellafield the problem already exists, and there are several areas
where contamination source areas containing tritium the contamination
has reached the groundwater table and an extensive area of tritium
contaminated groundwater extends from
Separation Area of the site towards the coast Happily,
Sellafield's tritiated water is not alone, as technetium-99 has a
similar distribution to tritium in groundwater, and strontium-90,
carbon-14 and uranium isotopes have also reached the groundwater table
in some contamination source areas. The good news is that these
additional pollutants are less mobile, being largely or wholly
contained within the boundary of the Sellafield site
Material selected from:
187 terabecquerels per annum into the atmosphere, and 1090
terabecquerels per annum into the sea. If the cooling towers'
circuit is to use sea water, what will happen to all this pollution?
It seems highly likely that the materials will be picked up in
the warm, moist air, and distributed over the Cumbrian fells and
water-courses to end up in the lakes that are currently so attractive
to tourists. The move to make a false distinction between the
"Lake District" and the west Cumbrian coastal plain seems a bit
nonsensical under those circumstances. Not only will the entire
monstrous site and its cables, pipelines and industrial sprawl be
plainly visible alongside the Sellafield complex, from the National
Park, but the noxious products will be distributed all over it.
Only a very short time will see the entire district polluted to the
point of extinction. Great thoughts for those distancing
themselves from action on the grounds that it won't affect them.
There is, of course, nothing about any of this in NuGen's literature -
but does that mean we are safe? Given their integrity,
competence and honesty, what do you think? Money seems to buy a lot of blinkers.
Further Further Thoughts on Cooling Towers
In the book entitled "Sellafield Stories", edited by Hunter Davies
(ISBN 978-1-78033-299-4), a genuine old-style Cumbrian tells of working
at Sellafield. Most of the story is what might be expected, but
we found one paragraph very interesting: "One thing here [in Wasdale] we don't get the mists since the cooling towers have gone."
The narrative then goes on about the weather conditions that
would produce the mists. Presumably the mists would be doing the
same thing all the time, but just not visibly. Whatever was
coming out of the cooling towers was being dumped onto the fells.
The fells in the area all go into watercourses that feed into,
for example, Wastwater - from whence Sellafield draws its cooling
water, and down into rivers that flow through the Sellafield area into
the sea. As the cooling towers (demolished in 2007) were
situated alongside the two piles, one of which had the fire, is it
unreasonable to assume that a lot of the radioactive material exhausted
through the pile also ended up on the fells? The NuGen cooling
towers - assuming there are going to be some, even though we don't know
how many - will be doing the same thing, so the narrator of the mist
story can expect a lot more mist and, presumably, any other materials
that are dispersed this way.
A Long Way To Go Yet . . .
We've just received a letter from the Director for nuclear energy,
safety and ETIR. (The European Commissioner.) He tells us:
construction projects shall be communicated to the Commission under the
scope of Article 41 not later than three months before the first
contracts are concluded with the suppliers or, if the work is to be
carried out by the undertaking with its own resources, three months
before the work begins. At the moment of drafting this response,
the Commission has not received such notification regarding the nuclear
project in Moorside. If and when this notification is
received, the Commission will review it and issue its Point of View to
conclude whether or not the investment project fulfils the objectives
of the Euratom Treaty.
Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty lays down that prior to granting a
planned nuclear operation an authorisation to discharge airborne and
liquid radioactive effluents into the environment, a Member State shall
provide the Commission with such information that allows the
Commission, after consultation of a dedicated group of independent
experts, to release its opinion on whether the implementation of said
plan is liable to entail a radiological exposure, significant from the
point of view of health, of the population of another Member State.
Guidance on the information to be provided by the Member State
is given in Commission Recommendation 2010/635/Euratom on the
application of Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty. The Commission
opinion is formally transmitted to the submitting Member State and, for
public information, published in the Official Journal of the European
Buried in the literature, on Page 93, is the following offer:
neighbours of the Moorside Project Sites, NuGen will make best
endeavours to eliminate, minimise and mitigate the potential (?!)
adverse impacts of its development. For those closest to the NPS
designated area where development has been allocated, at the Moorside
Site, NuGen is considering providing a discretionary Property Support
Scheme and a Local Mitigation Scheme to which people can apply if an
effect on their property can be demonstrated (e.g. by nuisance or
reduction in value)."
Westinghouse AP 1000 Design Flaws
A wide variety of sources provide information on the design flaws of
the proposed Moorside reactors. Most of them report the
Fairewinds submissions by Arnie Gundersen:
Despite what Westinghouse misleadingly say, the proposed AP1000
reactors uses a new and untested single containment system design. The
Fairewinds report goes on to say:
pattern of recently uncovered weakness in the overall integrity of the
current operating containment system design methodology proves that
presumptions made for the AP1000 containment system considered in the
containment design bases lack the level of prudence and caution as
required to protect public health and safety."
He mentions that in
a 1992 report, Naus and Graves chronicled thirty two reported incidences
of steel containment or liner degradation that are particularly germane
to anticipated problems with the proposed AP1000 containment system.
claims are supported by Italian
nuclear expert, Dr. Petrangeli, whose concerns are with respect to new
containment-design leakage rates, and the detailed history of at least
77 containment system failures nationwide. He goes on to demand
a whole new analysis
to determine exactly how the newly proposed AP1000 design accommodates
leakage through the wall of its unique hybrid containment system.
The concensus of opinion is that as a result of the flawed
1. More radiation is likely to be released than previously analyzed.
Radiation will be released sooner than in other scenarios
because the hole or leakage path exists prior to the accident.
3. Radioactive gases entering this gap are not filtered or delayed.
Moisture and oxygen, routinely occurring between the containment
and the shield building in the AP1000 design, exacerbates the
likelihood of larger than design basis containment leaks.
Additional material from: http://www.nonukesyall.org/pdfs/20100407-ap1000-gundersen-containment-report.pdf
What we haven't yet seen is an explanation as to what happens to the
eight million gallons of contaminated water that would be produced
should a leak of the containment vessel occur, triggering the emergency
cooling system - dumping the whole bathful onto the reactor casing.
The Moorside site is slightly more elevated than the Sellafield
one, so maybe it would flood that site? (A so-called "safety
feature" of the AP1000 design is a water tank atop the reactor to
provide emergency cooling in the event of an "incident".
has stated, “There is no secondary containment provided for the
fission product control following a design basis accident.”
(AP1000 DCD, Rev. 16, Section 22.214.171.124)
Elsewhere on the interneet, it is reported that in America a record of
over 13,500 public comments expressing concern about the AP1000 design
have been presented to the NRC. (Nuclear Regulatory Commission.)
The AP 1000 design has a tank of water containing eight million gallons, which is situated above the
containment vessel. It is possible that this tank may leak
over time, providing additional moister to aid the propagation of
holes. As the owner of a beach property in the immediate
vicinity of the Moorside site, we are extremely aware of the effects of
corrosive sea air. It seems that the AP1000 containment
vessel will be attacked from within and without. Gundersen
points to the problems that inspections may face, in that some
vulnerable points of the containment vessel are inaccessible and/or
hidden, preventing early detection of problems.
of the main planks of Westinghouse's containment system relies very largely on the
coating applied to the containment vessel itself to protect against corrosion. However, although paint
manufacturer test their products to industry standard, because of the hostile and highly radioactive environment, they would not
expect a coating to last more than ten years in the harsh environment
of a nuclear reactor. The proposed life of the AP1000 is 50
that, presumably to reduce costs, the thickness of the containment
vessel, at 1¾", is less than some of those that have already
failed . . .
AP100 has signficant and unacceptable design problems.
These reactors are nuclear accidents waiting to happen.
Fukushima has shown us that we can not afford to take safety for
granted. Instead of fast-tracking its review, the NRC
should reject this reactor design."
According to the Office for Nuclear Development, as of April this year,
there are still 51 faults to be rectified. Yet scarily, these
potentially fatal flaws were not detected by the
American experts who initially gave tentative approval, later
withdrawing it. Can we
hope for better from our own regulators? Given that the design
has so many flaws, it is difficult to understand why they are still
entertaining the prospect.
remains unclear if the design can withstand earthquakes, tornadoes and
airplane crashes. Yet, as we pointed out in our response to
NuGen's consultation in a document last July, As we
pointed out in our initial response to the consultation with NuGen,
700 aircraft fly within 57 miles of Sellafield each week.
It would take less than six minutes for a plane to divert to the
site. The last time the RAF flew to the area following the
appearance of a light aircraft over Sellafield, it took them 14 minutes
to get there. That may prove a tad too long.
Confuse Them With a Consultation
pile of documents, some with over one hundred and twenty pages, full of
jargon, technical drawings and acronyms (DCO, GDA, NPPF, NPS EN-6, NN
NPS,LEP, TTWA, AOD, BLF, MOLF, and so many more most without
explanation!) does not, in our opinion, have
any resemblance to a consultation. The whole edifice is based on
the premise that the proposed (!) construction will inevitably go
ahead, and the text is designed to convey only that. Whether the
documentation is in any way suitable for a sensible debate with people
who are more at home dealing with more mundane things is doubtful.
It is tempting to offer prizes for the most original suggestions
for some of them!
We have perused the plans supplied to a select (very) few on a memory
stick, but still haven't managed to find any plans for the second
harbour. Is this something being kept hidden? If so, why?
Anyone understand what a Harbour Empowerment Order is?
Whatever, it extends almost 5 kilometers out to sea and, unlike the
main plans, includes the entire Braystones Beach - bungalows included -
down almost to Seascale.
We were greatly amused by the once again obvious lack of vocabulary on
the part of the cartographer, who, struggling for any better word,
suggests that the A 595 will be "de-trunked".
Sellafield's Own Environmental Survey: Nuclear is NOT CO2-Free
According to a sustainability appraisal that was undertaken in 2012 by
Sellafield and NDA (the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority), the Sellafield nuclear site emitted 258,000 tonnes of CO2 and equivalents, a significant
amount arising as a result of the consumption of 397,000 MWh of energy, compared to 281,000
tonnes of CO2, and 411,000 MWh of energy in 2011.
[From that we arrive at 539,000 tonnes of CO2 and
808 MWh of electricity. It is not clear whether those figures
include the resources used by the Fellside power generating plant which
produces electricity for Sellafield.]
The Sellafield site is located between 5 m and 50 m Above Ordnance Datum (AOD) along the
Cumbria coastline. The site is generally protected from coastal flooding by cliffs, Ehen shingle spit
and a railway embankment. However, coastal erosion and sea level rise has the potential to affect
the southern end of the Sellafield site within the next 100 years if existing defences are not
[The Moorside site is immediately alongside the Sellafield site.
It is reasonable then to assume the same vulnerability.]
An estimated 1,600 m3
of soil is contaminated with radioactive material to Intermediate Level
Waste (ILW) levels. Much of this contamination reflects the industrial activities that have taken
place on the site. Contamination is mainly located in the centre of the Sellafield site. The site also
overlies an aquifer in the underlying sandstone geology which is known to be significantly
contaminated to the southwest due to the migration of contamination from the site.
As well as the estimated 1,600 m3
of soil contaminated to ILW levels there is also estimated to be
just over 1,000,000 m3
of soil contaminated to LLW levels. There is also estimated to be some
of soil contaminated with radioactive material which will require management as
High Volume Very Low Level Waste (HVVLLW).
[So, nearly 13,000,000 cubic
metres of contamination, not to mention the aquifer that is carrying
leached radioactivity into the sea.]
Since 2006, the application of enhanced beach monitoring near Sellafield using the techniques
developed for Dounreay has identified a number [over 1750 to March, 2013] of contaminated finds on local beaches. These
are more diverse and generally contain less active radionuclide material than the material
identified at Dounreay. Arrangements are in place to monitor for these items and recover those
which are found. [Sadly, the greater majority will not be found by the monitoring system.]
In 2012, some 6.02 million m3
of water was abstracted from a number of sources. During this
period the net amount of water used by the Sellafield site was 3.48 million m3
On the 1st April 2012, at the Sellafield site there was estimated to be 1,780 m3
of HLW, 74,900 m3
of ILW and 4,030 m3
of LLW in storage on the site which will be retrieved and temporarily stored
until a national off site repository is established or until LLW is disposed of at the LLW Repository
near Drigg as appropriate. The HLW is comprised of raw and conditioned wastes, the ILW is
comprised of raw, interim stored and conditioned wastes and the LLW is entirely raw waste.
It is estimated that at the end of operations and decommissioning at Sellafield, there will be 1,260
of HLW, ~300,000 m3
of ILW and ~570,000 m3
of LLW (all packaged waste).
In 2012 some 4,700 tonnes of non-hazardous waste was generated of which 60% was reused or
recycled. 398 tonnes of hazardous waste was generated in this period, of which 23% was reused
or recycled. [Put another way,
over 306 tonnes of hazardous waste was added to the inventory,
along with 1,880 tonnes of "non-hazardous" waste. Hopefully the
equipment used to differentiate the various degrees of radioactivity
was actually calibrated and reading correctly.]
[Again, it is unclear whether the figures are, as we believe, solely
relating to the Sellafield site. It is very likely that the
Moorside site must be similarly polluted due to its proximity to the
main Sellafield site.]
In 2012, the Sellafield site (including Calder Hall and Windscale) consumed some 397,000 MWh of
energy and some 6.02 million m3
of water. These figures compare to 411,000 MWh of energy use
and 6.07 million m3
of water use in 2011. [Although no water was paid for on a commercial basis.]
some of the older plants, early standards of shielding and containment
design, together with the
build-up of historic contamination, contribute to relatively high
background dose rates in parts of
the Sellafield and adjacent Windscale and Calder Hall sites. In 2012
average Sellafield Ltd
employee and hired staff doses were 0.59 mSv and for contractors were
0.91 mSv. Maximum
doses were 8.39 mSv and, for contractors, 9.52 mSv; both being
significantly less than the legal
whole body dose limit of 20 mSv/annum. [The Japanese working at
Fukushima have a system whereby contractors are hired to work in areas
where there is high radioactivity. They are subjected to the
maximum permitted dose then sacked, usually after just a few weeks employmen - having achieved a full year's dose.]
On the Sellafield site, there is an estimated 1,600 m3
of soil contaminated with radioactive material which is
contaminated to Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) levels, as well as just over 1 million m3
of soil contaminated to
LLW levels. There is also estimated to be some 11.8 million m3
of soil contaminated with radioactive material
which will require management as High Volume Very Low Level Waste, and may be authorised for on site
disposal. [Is it likely that this contamination will not affect the Moorside site?]
Marine Conservation Zone and Other Environmental Concerns
entire coast from Whitehaven to Ravenglass is designated a Marine
Conservation Zone. We have asked the relevant body about their
views and any concerns they may have about the proposals to install two
harbours, pipelines and underground heat exchangers. We will
post their response when received. It is also relevant that the
groundworks will inevitably affect the water-courses that provide the
SSSIs with their raison d'etre: their scientific interest.
A whole variety of wild-life is to be uprooted and relocated to
accommodate the scheme. One wonders, too, about the fate of the
lovely, characterful 7th century St. Bridget's Church which will be
just on the edge of the proposed development.
As we mention elsewhere, the requirement will be for a billion (1000,000,000) gallons a day of cooling water. Yet, in Section 3.7 of NPS EN-6, ‘Nuclear Impact: Water Quality and Resources’, it states that:
should also be specific measures to minimise impact to fish and aquatic
biota by entrainment or by excessive heat or biocidal chemicals from
discharges to receiving waters."
The surveying vessels off Braystones, summer, 2016.
The 11th century St. Bridget's Church
Cumbria's Marine Conservation Zone - which will be affected by NuGen's proposed development.
A Matter of Trust
with our other friends from abroad, one has to wonder at the integrity
of those we are committing our energy supplies to. Sometimes it
seems that profits are the sole consideration. As, we believe,
the cost-cutting measures included in the Westinghouse AP 1000 design
which experts say will compromise its safety.
Toshiba Corp overstated its operating profit by 151.8 billion yen
($1.22 billion) over several years in accounting irregularities
involving top management, an independent investigation said in a report
the country's biggest corporate scandal in years, the findings could
lead to the restatement of earnings, a board overhaul and potentially
hefty fines at the computers-to-nuclear conglomerate.
President and Chief Executive Hisao Tanaka and his predecessor, Vice
Chairman Norio Sasaki, were aware of the overstatement of profits and
delay in reporting losses in a corporate culture that "avoided going
against superiors' wishes," the investigating committee said in a
report filed by Toshiba to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
overstatement was roughly triple Toshiba's initial estimate. Sources
have said Tanaka and Sasaki would resign in the coming months and most
of the board would be replaced to take responsibility for the
report said Tanaka and Sasaki had set operating profit targets that the
heads of divisions were required to meet, applying pressure by hinting
at withdrawing from areas that underperformed.
"Within Toshiba, there was a corporate culture in which one could not go against the wishes of superiors," the report said.
when top management presented 'challenges', division presidents, line
managers and employees below them continually carried out inappropriate
accounting practices to meet targets in line with the wishes of their
said previously that one of the investigators' theories was that top
executives, worried about the impact of the 2011 Fukushima disaster on
nuclear business, set unrealistic targets for new operations such as
smart meters and electronic toll booths.
large capital requirements of such construction projects always results
in temptation, it appears. When such large sums of money
are involved there will always be those who wish to profit, whether
legally or otherwise. Dishonesty seems to be a common trait
amongst nuclear companies and those who service and supply
them. Toshiba are no exception.
More than forty companies such as various subsidiaries of Amec, Amey,
Balfour Beatty, Costain’s, Wimpey, Kier, Laing O’Rourke,
Morgan Est, Sir Robert McAlpine, Carillion,and many other big names,
have recently been obliged to come to an agreement with GMB union after
more than 3,200 construction workers were found on an illegal blacklist
database run by The Consulting Association. The database
had been compiled over 40 years and contained personal details of
workers who had raised concerns, for example, about health and
safety. The firms admitted they “engaged in a
terrible abuse of the civil rights of thousands of UK
workers”. Will any of these companies be barred from
tendering to build?
Corrupt Friends Required - We Really Are VERY Desperate
The Sunday Times, May 1st,
2016, included an article by John Collingridge on the desperate state
that NuGen are in as they struggle to find finance. The report
South Korean energy giant that was embroiled in a forgery scandal has
been tapped up to invest in a new nuclear power station planned for the
emphasis . . . but haven't we heard of forged documents in the
nuclear industry before, along with various other examples of large-scale
Samson, chief executive of the plant’s developer, NuGen, is
understood to have approached potential investors including Korea
Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) in recent weeks as its
Franco-Japanese backers struggle for funds.
owners, Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and Toshiba, aim to build a 3.8
gigawatt plant, capable of powering 6m homes, at Moorside in
Sellafield. Along with Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Wylfa in
Anglesey, it is one of three projects whose goal is to unblock
Britain’s nuclear power logjam.
like the long-delayed Hinkley Point, finding investors prepared to fund
NuGen’s £10bn-plus project is proving a challenge. The
Sunday Times revealed in March that Whitehall has asked for Japanese
taxpayer funds to help get Wylfa and Moorside off the ground.
which is advising Wylfa’s Japanese backer, Hitachi, is understood
to have written to the UK government to suggest it also take a stake in
the Wylfa project.
Lovegrove, who until March was permanent secretary at the Department of
Energy & Climate Change, flew to Tokyo last month for funding talks
with Japanese ministers and executives. On his way back he stopped off
in Seoul for similar discussions.
held talks about joining the NuGen consortium in 2013, according to
reports, but no deal materialised. Japanese trading house Itochu, which
owns car repair chain Kwik-Fit, is also understood to have been
approached by NuGen about injecting funds.
scandal at Kepco in 2012 threw Korea’s energy industry into
turmoil when forged safety certificates for replacement parts for
nuclear plants were uncovered.
joining NuGen last summer, Samson was chief operating officer of
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation in Abu Dhabi. Kepco is the prime
contractor on the UAE’s rollout of nuclear power plants.
said: “We are looking for funds and are talking to all the
relevant people across the globe.” Kepco could not be reached for