Saturday, 8 November 2014

Sellafield Horrow

Whistle-blower’s photos lay bare risk of disaster as expert warns it's another Fukushima waiting to happen

Abandoned nuclear waste lying in rotting containers in decaying tanks which are open to the elements
These photos of highly radioactive waste in crumbling ponds proves Sellafield is a Fukushima-like nuclear disaster waiting to happen on our doorstep.
These alarming images show nuclear waste abandoned 40 years ago lying in rotting containers in decaying tanks which are open to the elements.
While Sellafield portrays itself as a modern facility using latest technology the photos paint a picture of wanton neglect and reckless management of the most toxic substance ever created.
The images were leaked by a concerned worker who wanted the world to know parts of the plant – which is nearly 70 years old – are falling apart.
Rusty and corroded pipes and tanks at Sellafield

The concrete walls of tanks where waste was abandoned in the 1970s are crumbling raising fears of a nuclear catastrophe just 200km from Dublin.
If the ponds drain, the spent fuel can spontaneously ignite spreading radiation over a wide area.

Such a disaster would call for mass evacuations along our east coast and a Chernobyl-like permanent exclusion zone in contaminated areas.
Sitting of the abandoned nuclear ponds at Sellafield

Nuclear exert John Large fears a massive radioactive leak.
He told The Ecologist website: “Looking at the photos I’m very disturbed at the degraded and rundown condition of the structures and support services. In my opinion there is a significant risk the system could fail.
“I’d say there’s many hundreds of tonnes in there. It could give rise to a very big radioactive release.
“It’s not for me to make comparisons with Chernobyl or Fukushima, but it could certainly cause serious contamination over a wide area and for a very long time.”
The alarming photos show cracked concrete tanks half-full of water contaminated with high levels of radiation.
On the walkways around the tanks lies a dangerous mess of discarded pipes and equipment while weeds grow from crevices in the cracked concrete.
Alarm bells...Corroded pipes at Sellafield Nuclear Plant

Seagulls regularly land in the deadly contaminated water and carry it on their bodies when they fly off.
In one picture a gull has made its nest a metre above the radioactive soup.
John Large added: “This pond is built above ground. It’s like a concrete dock full of water.”
But the concrete is in dreadful condition, degraded and fractured and Mr Large, warned: “If you got a breach of the wall by accident or by terrorist attack, the Magnox fuel would burn.”
The tanks were commissioned in 1952 and used until the mid 1970s as a short-term storage facility for spent fuel.
But as the photos show the entire area was abandoned in the 1970s and have had little or no attention in 40 years.
Plastic tanks inside the abandoned cooling pond are open to the elements

Decommissioning work has now started and “de-flocculation” of the water has made it possible to at last to see what is in the tanks. Until recently no one was sure what was stored below the water.
John Large said: “For the first time in decades we can see into the pond and see the contents, and it’s breathtaking.
“It’s all thanks to the whistleblower that I’m looking at them. If the Euratom inspectors could see what we can see now, my there would have been a row.”
A significant amount of the spent fuel was created during the oil crisis of the 1970s when Britain became more dependent on nuclear power
Mr Large told the Ecologist: “During the three-day week they powered up the Magnox reactors to maximum, and so much fuel was coming into Sellafield that it overwhelmed the line and stayed in the pool too long.
Lethal aerial shot of nuclear waste at abandoned pond in Sellafield

“The magnesium fuel rod coverings corroded due to the acidity in the ponds, and began to degrade and expose the nuclear fuel itself to the water, so they just lost control of the reprocessing line at a time when the ponds were crammed with intensely radioactive nuclear fuel.
“This left the fuel in a very unstable condition, with actual nuclear fuel complete with uranium 238, 235 and all the fission products, in contact with water.
“The problem then is that you get corrosion with the formation of hydride salts which leads to swelling, outside cracks, and metal-air reactions.
“The whole fuel ponds began to look like milk of magnesia, and what with the poor inventories that had been kept, no one even knew what was in there any more.
“Even the Euratom nuclear proliferation inspectors complained about it as there was by some estimates over a tonne of plutonium sitting there in the fuel rods and as sludge that was never properly accounted for.”

The UK Office of Nuclear Regulation, the statutory nuclear safety regulator, told the Ecologist it does not intend to prosecute anyone for abandoning huge amounts of nuclear waste.
In a statement the ONR said: “The legacy facilities at Sellafield were built in the 1950s and 1960s and therefore don’t meet modern engineering standards.
“ONR is not considering enforcement action in relation to the complex historical chain of events leading to the current situation at Sellafield but instead is focusing, together with other key stakeholders, on accelerating the reduction of hazard and risk on site, and how we can do that quickly and safely.”


Jonathon Porritt becomes Patron of Nuclear Information Service

Image credit: Forum for the Future

Nuclear Information Service (NIS) is delighted to announce that Jonathon Porritt has agreed to become a Patron of our organisation.
Jonathon will be the first of our Patrons, and will assist in raising NIS's profile, developing our networks, and acting as a figurehead for the organisation.  
Jonathon is a co-founder of Forum for the Future, former director of Friends of the Earth UK (1984 – 1990), and a former co-chair of the Green Party (1980 – 1983).  He stood down as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2009 after nine years of providing high-level advice to government ministers, and was installed as the Chancellor of Keele University in February 2012.  Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection.
Jonathon Porritt commented, "I am delighted to have become Patron of Nuclear Information Service.  I am looking forward to acting as an ambassador for NIS, who occupy a unique place in the nuclear disarmament arena by providing high quality, carefully researched information on nuclear weapons and related activities which is highly valued by the whole of the sector ".
Pete Wilkinson, NIS Director, said "We are very excited to be able to call on the expertise and patronage of Jonathon Porritt who is a leading figure and commentator on environmental issues including nuclear disarmament."


Edf are currently moving the largest diggers in Europe onto the Hinkley Point proposed C site- 60 tons and with a bucket big enough to hold a police riot van is the whisper. They are moving them onto site during the day and night and haven't announced it from fear that they will be road blocked... meanwhile they also have a delegation in China negotiating with 2 big companies there in order to give them juicy deals for HPC... No ethics, No humanity.. Money rules and the masses will suffer. And song birds are found in the most unlikely of places and will always sing in the face of those with misplaced morals who care only for there own wealth - which pays the way into a bankrupt and warped conscience.. These people wage war on the Mother planet that gives them life, believe they can conquer her and have no eyes to see the beauty under their noses, no foresight, compassion or love for the living, or for future generations

Firms envolved

Firms appointed to various roles on the mega-project include Laing O’Rourke, Bouygues, Costain, Kier, Bam Nuttall and Dean & Dyball, a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty.
Main construction work on the UK’s first nuclear power plant in a generation could begin as early as December, Building can reveal.
Contractors delivering the civils packages on EDF’s £16bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project are being told to prepare to start on site in December this year, according to market sources.
The news comes as the European Commission (EC) announced it was set to approve a deal between the developer and the UK government on how the project will be funded.
Building understands firms appointed to the project are being told the developer will make a “broad” final investment decision in November, after the project receives approval from the EC, which is expected next month.
Sources close to the project said firms building the plant were being told to prepare to start on site in the South-west in December.
Preparatory work on the site has been ramping up this month and will continue to increase in the run-up to December.