Britain's Toxic Coast
"The 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. ISBN  0-450-05108-0
Last up-dated, 8/9/16

Facts
(this page)
Archived Pages


9/2/17

Stressed Out

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 very attractive.

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.


8/2/17

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 with distance.

Source:  https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7460-large-study-links-power-lines-to-childhood-cancer/  

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 Black).  

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 average.

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 expected?  

Even along the route of the power line, audible noise is likely to be a problem: 

Ref.:   http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13117521.Power_line__hum__disturbing_sleep/  

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 estimate: 

Ref.:   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 October 2007.

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 proposed timescales.

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:

http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/pdfs/sims_dent_urbanstudies_april_2005.pdf  

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:

http://www.powerwatch.org.uk



8/9/16

From the Pages of Hansard, 2010
Sellafield Recall

"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 management arrangements."

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.

13/6/16

The View of Natural England

Intrigued 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.


Salient Points

The 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.

The 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:

SEO 1: 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.]

SEO 2: 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 connectivity.  [Or 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 and die.]

SEO 3: 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 there.   [Or by covering the land and shores with a huge nuclear generating plant, relying on NuGen to provide entertainment and redesign the natural world.]

SEO 4: 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.]

Western Fells

A view of the western fells inland from Sellafield.
Sellafield from Braystones Tarn

Sellafield's complex looking south from Braystones Tarnside Caravan site.


One 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 it.  

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)

Popular 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.

The 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.

One aim is the protection of the expansive views across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man and south Scotland and across Morecambe Bay.

Decline 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.]

There 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:

Maintain, 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.

Manage, 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.

Protect 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?]

Seek 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?]

Promote 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

Based 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.

The 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?

29/6/16

Interesting Facts
  • The land around Sellafield was purchased by them in order to provide a buffer zone.
  • Some of the products of these reactors will stay dangerously radioactive for 250,000 years, others over a million years.   A large number of the components discharged cannot be filtered out of the discharges and there is no way of disposing of them other than burying them and hoping never to see them again. - should we not consider it now, before adding more, even hotter, waste to the existing waste heaps?
  • All nuclear reactors produce radioactive cooling water as a result of its contact with the steam generator, this water is then discharged into the environment.
  • The cooling system will require prodigious quantities of water.   It is highly unlikely that any of the available fresh water sources in the area will be sufficient.
  • If sea water from the Irish Sea is used, then the toxic chemicals, tritium, caesium, americium, et al, historically and currently discharged by Sellafield will be recirculated and will eventually find their way into the environment.  
  • One millionth of a gramme of plutonium in a lung is sufficient to cause lung cancer.  
  • According to a report in The Guardian, 23/4/99, more than 60 kgs has "gone missing" and are expected to be found in sea sediments.
  • In the NuGen plans, there is a figure of 45 cu.metres/sec declared as the amount of cooling water to be drawn from the Irish Sea.   Our calculations say this equates to 851, 472, 000 (U.K.) gallons a day.   Alternatively, 3,870,868 metric tonnes each day.    The pressure differentials to achieve that kind of throughput are truly impossible to imagine.   Whether the negative pressure on the intake, or the positive pressure of the hot output water, both will have a profound and irreversible effect on the Irish Sea.   
  • Manx and Irish amenities and fishing are going to be badly affected.
  • More than 1500 particles have been retrieved using a very inefficient and scientifically unsound method along  just a couple of miles along accessible parts of the Cumbrian sea shore.   These represent a fraction of the total still "in the wild" and which are likely to be re-circulated by Moorside.   Storms and tides are constantly moving these particle around, a process that will be aggravated by pumping the cooling water.
  • Statements by various authorities and Sellafield that discharges have been substantially reduced are pretty meaningless against what has already been released and still exists in the environment whilst being active enough to cause harm.
  • In the United States, similar methods of dissipating heat to that proposed by NuGen have resulted in the death of billions of fish and severe damage to the marine environment.
  • Nuclear reactors are frequently subject to rapid shutdowns as jellyfish and other marine biota block the water intakes.   NuGen plan to discharge chemicals to prevent this - although they do not explain the consequences.
  • In the last 50 years the oceans have warmed by 0.1° which has led to considerable climatic changes - such as more numerous hurricanes and other ferocious storms.   NuGen suggest that their discharges will be (depending on the member of staff responding) either 1° - 3° or 10° - 13°, yet in the USA their reactors have a temperature differential of 20°.   That is into the Pacific - the Irish Sea is far more contained.
  • Nuclear power plants have to run continuously - you can't just shut them down when there is too much power being produced.
  • Nuclear power plants often trip out or have to go off line, which means that the current requirement for a baseload availability necessitates the production of an equal amount of electricity which will be unused.   If Moorside is expected to produce its 3 GWatts then a further 3 GWatts has to be immediately available if any circumstance causes Moorside to go off line.
  • The basic premise that there has to be a baseload supply permanently available is out-moded.   There is no reason why small, local, modular fast-acting generators could not meet demand.
  • The factors that will prove the Achilles heel for NuGen are:  cooling, proximity to Sellafield, finances, and political and public opinion.
  • More nuclear reactors are being shut down or are in long-term maintenance than are operating.
  • The nuclear industry was declining well before the events at Fukushima, which merely accelerated the downward trend.
  • Some nuclear construction projects last decades.   The current winner is 40 years for the Watts Bar 2 project for Tennessee Valley.
  • Next door to Moorside, Sellafield has over 112 tonnes of plutonium stored.   That site also discharges pollution to the environment on a daily basis.   All of this will be re-circulated by Moorside's projected plan.
  • The operational phase of the project will involve discharges of process chemicals used in the power station and potentially discharges of disinfectants and their by-products arising from use of chemicals to keep the cooling water intake/outfall clear of marine fouling growth.   (NuGen's literature - Chapter 23 - Summary of Effects.)
  • U.S. authorities are contemplating extending evacuation zones around nuclear establishments from 10 miles to 50 miles.   The current evacuation zone for Sellafield is 2½ miles . . .
  • UK has 1,420 cubic metres of high-level radioactive waste, 364,000 cubic metres of intermediate-level radioactive waste, 3,470,000 cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste.
    • Time-frame between 10,000 - 1,000,000 years.
    • UK Govt estimate costs around £80-100 billion and rising.
    • No secure estimates for ‘deep disposal’.
    • Nuclear is uninsurable.
    • Currently, UK nuclear accident liability is capped at £134 million.
    • The EC aims to raise this to £1.2 billion per major accident.
    • Starting estimates for Fukushima stand at £100 billion and rising.
  • Worldwide wind power added 51GW in 2014.
    • New additions represented 44% year-on-year growth.
    • Wind's cumulative installations to 369.55GW at the end of 2014.
  • ‘Nuclear sites, based on the coastline, may need considerable investment to protect them against rising sea levels, or even abandonment or relocation in the long term.’   (UK Institute of Mechanical Engineers.)
Several 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?
  • 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).
Ref.:    15.10.2   Marine and Coastal Physicl Processes of NuGen's consultation documents.

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!
14/6/16

Further Thoughts On Cooling Towers

Tritium, 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.

Let 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 membranes."

Tritium 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?

At 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
the 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:


Tritium discharges:

Sellafield discharged 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.   It will.

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.

30/6/16

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.
14/6/16

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:

"New 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.

"Furthermore, 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 Union."

8/6/16
Hidden Offers?

Buried in the literature, on Page 93, is the following offer:

"For 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)."

6/6/16

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:


"The 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.

The 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 design:

1.   More radiation is likely to be released than previously analyzed.

2.   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.

4.   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.

Ref.: 
http://www.fairewinds.org

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".



Westinghouse has stated, “There is no secondary containment provided for the fission product control following a design basis accident.” (AP1000 DCD, Rev. 16, Section 6.5.3.2)



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.

One 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 years.

Given that, presumably to reduce costs, the thickness of the containment vessel, at 1¾", is less than some of those that have already failed . . .


"The 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."


Ref.:  http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2011-05-ap1000-nuclear-reactor-design-in-grave-danger


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.

It 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, over 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.


8/6/16
Confuse Them With a Consultation

A 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".

6/6/16

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 CO
2, and 411,000 MWh of energy in 2011.    [From that we arrive at 539,000 tonnes of COand 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 maintained.   [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 11,800,000 m3 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 m
3 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 m3 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 m
3 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.]

At 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 m
3 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?]


Re.:  http://sustainability.sellafieldsites.com/files/2012/12/Sellafield-Site-Specific-Information-2013-December-update-FINAL.pdf


Marine Conservation Zone and Other Environmental Concerns


The 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:

"There 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."


Survey platform and bathymetric survey boat off Braystones

The surveying vessels off Braystones, summer, 2016.

7th Century St. Bridget's Church.   NuGen huge reactors are proposed to be in the field behind.

The 11th century St. Bridget's Church

Cumbria's Marine Conservation Zone

Cumbria's Marine Conservation Zone - which will be affected by NuGen's proposed development.



A Matter of Trust

As 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.

Japan's 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 on Monday.

In 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.

Toshiba 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.

The 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 shortcomings.

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.

"Therefore, 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 superiors."

Sources 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.

Ref.:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKCN0PU0E920150720

The 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 says:

A 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 Cumbrian coast.

Tom 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.

NuGen’s 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.

But 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.

Rothschild, 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.

Stephen 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.

Kepco 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.

A scandal at Kepco in 2012 threw Korea’s energy industry into turmoil when forged safety certificates for replacement parts for nuclear plants were uncovered.

Before 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.

NuGen said: “We are looking for funds and are talking to all the relevant people across the globe.” Kepco could not be reached for comment.

Our emphasis . . .  but haven't we heard of forged documents in the nuclear industry before, along with various other examples of large-scale corruption?