Dangerously radioactive for thousands of years.
Around the world there are many hundreds of examples of the human and environmental damage caused by dumping toxic waste from modern industrial processes. Each time we deplore the cost of trying to clear up the mess and vow to regulate future processes better.
But that’s NOT what’s happening with the most long-lived and potentially destructive legacy from the nuclear energy and weapons industry.
The UK Government, faced with the dilemma of increasing volumes of radioactive waste, no viable solution for long-term disposal of high-level waste, and no remaining capacity in the Country’s only facility for interim storage, has made drastic changes to the Planning Laws which had offered a modicum of protection for local people from unsafe and unwanted developments. One tactic, in the name of localism, is to offer a financial incentive (or bribe) to Local Authorities to accept a high-level waste depository regardless of geological suitability and local opinion – as in Cumbria; another is to permit the use of landfill sites for the disposal of low-level waste – as at Kings Cliffe.
East Midlands CND has been particularly concerned about dumping so-called ‘low-level’ radioactive waste in landfill sites as the region is plentifully supplied with holes in the ground! We have been providing support to Kings Cliffe Waste Watchers, the local group that opposes the dumping of nuclear waste near their Northamptonshire village, some originating in Derby and from further afield, transported along the roads in the region.
The plant is releasing 770,000 tons of stored radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. Keeping the three meltdowns cool has been an ongoing challenge that has to be met. As fresh water is pumped over the cores, it is then stored on site in massive tanks. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the plant, then has to figure out what to do with that water. The announcement infuriated local fishermen and environmental groups across Japan.
The release of thousands of tons of radioactive tritium by a giant utility company into aquatic and natural environments is a blood-chilling prospect. Where are the defenders of public health? If they could pull the plug out of their mouth, they could tell us that the tritium is a toxic radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and that, once released, tritium cannot be removed from the environment.
Takashi Kawamura, TEPCO’s chairman, when asked about the decision to introduce this vast amount of radioactive water into the ocean, initially responded “The decision has already been made.”
Toxic cargoes of nuclear waste have left Scotland from Wick John O Groats Airport for US under armed guard on American military planes.The secretive operation, signed off by David Cameron and Barack Obama last year, aims to clear a backlog of nuclear waste stored at Dounreay power station in Caithness.
Independent nuclear consultant John Large said: “This is pretty toxic stuff. It is weapons grade material. It is quite active. It’s ticking away and it does not turn itself off. In the States, you cannot overfly with this type of material. The plane will put down on the east coast and the shipment will continue under armed escort by rail or by road.” He said the risks in transporting nuclear waste by aircraft included “in the event of a crash, the fuel being engulfed in fire, the packages breaking down and the fuel igniting”.
A further 10 transatlantic flights – each costing around £1 million – are expected. A spokesman for Dounreay, which is currently being decommissioned, said: “We can confirm nuclear materials are being removed from the site ahead of its closure.
Convoys carrying nuclear bombs are often seen on Britain’s roads, thundering through towns and cities. Comprising up to 20 vehicles, they take Trident warheads between the South of England & central Scotland two to six times a year. Yet most people are unaware of what’s happening and Local Authorities and Fire Services are not alerted, although an accident could lead to fires, explosions and the spread of radioactive contamination over cities.
The demands of secrecy & security could compromise the safety of us all.
A convoy of four warhead carriers with all the escort vehicles left Burghfield on the morning of Monday May 15th and headed along the M4 and up the A34 past Oxford. As it was joining junction 9 of the M40, at around 11am, it obviously had a problem and pulled over onto the hard shoulder with some of the rear vehicles stopping in a layby, still on the A34. The police stopped all the traffic on the slip road so that one of the Mercedes armoured personnel carriers (APC)s could be turned around to face the wrong way and hitched up to the tow truck that travels with the convoy. After 45 minutes the convoy set off up the motorway and the tow truck with APC followed later.
These convoys travel through the East Midlands, often on the M1. If you spot one get in touch with www.nukesofhazard.co.uk For more information: www.uk.icnw.org