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.”
To: Cumbria County Council
Lock the Gate on Drigg -No More Nuclear Waste
UPDATE: On 15th July 2016 in Kendal a small committee of Cumbria County Council Councillors agreed to the faulty plan to stack ever more nuclear wastes in shipping containers on the Cumbrian coast for decades to come and then to “cap” them out of sight and out of mind. We the undersigned ask that you reconsider the Open Door Policy to Nuclear Waste and instead Lock the Gate on Drigg.
Why is this important?
To describe the UKs nuclear waste site as a “Repository” is putting a spin on the UKs main nuclear dump for "low level" waste. There is "controlled discharge direct to the Irish Sea" not to mention run off to the Drigg Stream and River Irt. Discharges to the air of radioactive gases are ongoing. According to the British Geological Society the Drigg site is above a regional aquifer. It is also "likely to be destroyed by coastal erosion" in 500 to 5000 years (computer modelling can be wrong either way) . Much of the waste is long lived and high risk.
Below are a few of the reasons why it is important that Cumbria County Council Lock the Gate on Drigg:
Planning Application PL\1508\05 (4/15/9012):The phased construction of additional vaults, higher stacking of containers..capping..
1. Drigg Low Level Waste Repository (the word nuclear was dropped so as not to scare the horses) would continue to accept nuclear waste for decades to come. "Capping" is misleading. To cap” a nuclear dump is akin to putting a cap on a fizzy lemonade bottle while there are holes in the bottom of the bottle. The site will continue to leach aqueous emissions to groundwater and gaseous emissions to air.
2. LOW LEVEL: This suggests that the waste at Drigg is low risk and short lived. Neither is true. As the University of Reading has pointed out: “The Drigg site uses two disposal systems: 1) An original system operated from 1959 to 1988 comprising a series of parallel trenches excavated into glacial clays, back filled with LLW and covered with an interim water resistant cap. 2) Current disposal of compacted waste placed in steel ISO-freight containers, with void space filled with highly fluid cement based grout. These containers are then disposed of in a series of open concrete vaults. Radionuclides with highest activities in the inventory include 3H, 241Pu, 137Cs, 234U and 90Sr, 238U and 232Th. http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/16608/1/mrspaper.pdf
3. RADIOACTIVE FLY TIPPING: The chemical and nuclear dump site has moved on from the years 1940 to 1988 when chemical and radioactive waste was tumble tipped into trenches. Now the waste is compacted into steel shipping containers filled with cement. Incredibly the containers are stacked high. In 2013 the LLW management wrote: “in containers at the tops of stacks, the external capping grout has undergone extensive physical degradation and settlement; the lids are not full of grout, and the grout is generally heavily cracked. The state of the capping grout in underlying layers is better; most containers only show sparse cracking and typical settlement in the lid is approximately 15 mm. Standing water, sometimes contaminated with low levels of radioactivity, is present in approximately half of the containers at the tops of stacks. ..In containers at the tops of stacks, organic matter has accumulated beneath many open grout ports, with vegetation growing from some grout ports. ..Corrosion, sometimes fully penetrating, is present in some container lids at the tops of stacks…” http://llwrsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/30-RP-LLWRGR-PROJ-0139-Vault-8-Container-Issues-Project-MAS.pdf
4. FLOODWATER AND SEA INUNDATION: “The Environment Agency has given a formal view that “the potential for disruption of the site is an acceptable risk” By “disruption of the site” they mean inundation by sea and flood. This is a far cry from the Environment Agency's previous criticism in 2005: "BNFL (Now the NDA) has not yet demonstrated that the wider benefits to the UK from continued LLW disposal on this site outweigh the potential future impacts" We would hope that Cumbria County Council agree with the Environment Agency's 2005 findings that that the real and present threat of inundation of the Drigg site by flood or by sea is not an acceptable risk to the people of Cumbria or to our international neighbours.
5. THE COLLAPSE in 1985 of the largest black-headed gull breeding colony in Europe on the Drigg dunes has never been satisfactorily explained. The official explanation is that a fox did it!
6. CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA is officially blamed on "population mixing" due to the influx of workers firstly to the 1940 explosives factory (Royal Ordnance Factory) at Drigg and then the ROF at Sellafield. The irony of this incredible argument is that the plan for 3 new nuclear reactors at ' Moorside' a few miles from Drigg ('Moorside' is at the village of Beckermet) would involve a boom and bust influx of thousands of workers along with a further tsunami of nuclear wastes and ever more Driggs. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-moorside-biggest-nuclear-development-in-europe
Many of the Councillors expressed serious concerns at the meeting and yet the vote was unanimously in favour which, to campaigners and the wider public, smacks of something very fishy indeed. To rely on the testament of the Environment Agency who merely look at the information provided to them by the industry is reckless. All projections and computer modelling are based on information provided by the operators. Much of the Drigg site is already unable to be accessed for monitoring due to the stacking of containers.
At the planning meeting on 15th July 2016 There was no discussion of
a. the increased possibility of criticality with an ever increasing radiological burden. The words criticality “will not occur” cannot be applied to Drigg's LLWR : https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/drigg-decision-we-are-caught-in-a-trap-no-way-out-because-we-love-nuclear-waste-too-much/
b. the ethics of denying future generations the right to protect themselves,
c. whether to warn future generations not to dig or distrurb the poisonous chalice beneath the land.
d. the ethics of adding to an already intolerable radioactive burden on this vulnerable coastal site.
How it will be delivered
By hand to Cumbria County Council