Friday, 6 November 2020

The importance of telling the full truth on UK nuclear waste burial

This letter was submitted to three local newspapers in Cumbria on 5 November 2020: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Your article on the announcement that Copeland Council has formed a so-called ‘Working Group to initiate explorations in the area to find out the possibilities of developing an underground Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for high activity, very long lived radioactive waste (“Copeland nuclear storage facility to create thousands of jobs” NW Evening Mail, 4th November 2020; is illustrated by an artist’s impression of what such a GDF might look like, taken from the promotional brochure recently released by Radioactive Waste Management Limited, the body given responsibility to manage the UK’s significant stockpile of radioactive waste. This illustration is highly misleading, and people in Copeland community should be aware of this fact as they begin their local assessment of whether they really welcome such a radiotoxic burden to where they live. The reason it is misleading, is it shows a vast subterranean complex of access tunnels and storage caverns below ground, but only very small above ground set of building, which would comprise the transport receipt terminal, the nuclear waste package transfer building, some administrative offices and the entry to the tunnels used to deliver the waste packages to the point of emplacement deep underground. This facility will remain open for least 100 years, as it receives a continuing stream of radioactive waste packages. Ministers have repeatedly reassured concerned citizens that were any significant accident or leakage of radioactivity event to take place underground, they could order the complete retrieval of the stockpiled waste packages, to ensure the subterranean water table is not contaminated. Were such a retrieval to take place, there would need to be in place an above ground storage building capable to storing the entire inventory of waste packages removed from the giant repository. Look as hard as you like, you will see no such building in the RWML illustration. The above ground building footprint will inevitable be far larger than the very small – and highly misleading- illustrated set of GDF buildings. When plans come forward, local people should demand to know where retrieved radioactive packages will be safely and securely stored above ground, should the repository need to be evacuated of its toxic contents.

1 comment:

  1. The total volume of the UK's high level nuclear waste would cover Wembley's football pitch to a height of 19 cm (7.5 ins).

    The National Grid is wanting the Government to plan for the build of 83 GW of offshore wind, in meeting the 'zero carbon by 2050' goal. Starting now, we would end up with 11,832 x 7 MW wind turbine generators (WTGs) occupying 27,676 km^2 of seabed.

    But, because of the 20 to 25 years lifespan of WTGs, we'd need to start decommissioning, by 2040/45, the first tranche built and that would go on every year forever.

    Each set of 3 blades from these WTGs weighs 84 tonnes. Every 20 to 25 years, close on 1,000,000 tonnes of pulverised GRP (fibreglass) will be heading for landfill. And this is never ending.

    On top of that will be many hundreds of thousands of tonnes of shredded fibreglass from onshore wind farms and millions upon millions of shattered solar pv panels, containing significant amounts of poisonous/toxic lead.

    At these shallow depths, their is a genuine reality of micro particles of glass, plastic and toxic chemicals leaching into groundwater.

    When the Government starts to allocate to councils their 'ration' of renewables waste that is about to start 'hitting the fan', local people should demand to know how they will be protected against these imminent dangers: