, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Henny penny  1916 by Mabel Hill

Although the articles found in this post are not brand new, they, along with Fukushima (and Chernobyl), are useful reminders as the UK proceeds with its New Nuclear projects; the US Energy Secretary, a nuclear physicist, stated on Friday from Japan that nuclear is still in the proposed US energy mix; Japan is trying to peddle nuclear reactors to Asia and the Middle East, and Russia’s state owned Rosatom is selling Jordan a nuclear power plant. http://jordantimes.com/article/green-party-calls-for-consensus-among-parties-against-nuclear-project http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/26/energy_nominee_ernest_moniz_criticized_for

In the above context, the topic of both uranium mining waste and nuclear waste, which no one still knows what to do with, must be more urgently held up for examination.  The question must be asked:  If we have so many troubles with old waste and radioactive materials are getting lost, why are we considering new nuclear to generate more problems? Fukushima is still leaking and countries are starting new nuclear? Have they gone mad? As well, we must recall the pernicious impacts on the communities which are being seized upon by uranium mining companies. It is a toxic package deal: mining, power plant, and waste.  

We have, by the way, found no follow-up report on this:  
Can anyone recall what we put in our nuclear dump?” By Terry Macalister, The Guardian, Saturday 14 February 2009: “We need your help,’ begins the plaintive ad on the front of the Whitehaven News. Did you work at Sellafield in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s? Were you by chance in the job of disposing of radioactive material? If so, the owners of Britain’s nuclear waste dump would very much like to hear from you: they want you to tell them what you dumped – and where you put it.  The reason for the ad is simple: the Cumbrian facility’s new operator, LLW Repository Ltd, has discovered that the historic records of disposal supposedly kept by the British state are far from complete….” Story continues here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/feb/14/sellafield-records-nuclear-waste (bold added for emphasis)

FORMER WORKERS ASKED TO TELL WHAT’S BURIED AT DRIGG NUCLEAR DUMP” By Matthew Legg, Business editor, Whitehaven News, Friday, 13 February 2009: “Bosses at the Drigg nuclear waste dump, near Sellafield, have asked former workers: ‘Help us find out what’s in there.’

Management at the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) have employed a team of consultants to interview ex-employees who worked at the site in 1960s, 70s and 80s.” Story continues here: http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/1.513354 (bold added)

One comment which was given in response to the above article:  
As a co-author of The International Politics of Nuclear Waste – a book on the history of nuclear waste management – and a member of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, may I point out in our book we quote an atomic energy research establishment (AWRE) scientist, Dr Spence, as affirming in 1957 – a few years before Drigg opened- that ‘the first thing that had to be done, however, before any radioactive work could begin, was the developemnt of a radioactive waste system, especially in its analytical control, which was acceptable to the public bodies concerned.’ It is a pity these good environmental protection intentions were dropped so shortly afterwards by his own employers, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, then operators of Drigg.

Fifty years ago, in 1959, the year Drigg opened, the then Conservative Government published the first official policy paper on radioactive waste oversight called ‘The Control of Radioactive Wastes’ (Command Paper 884). But at that time, as one senior US official famously said, there were no ‘brownie points’ in nuclear waste, and bright young nuclear engineers were recruited into the glamourous new reactor building programme. Indeed, in the whole of 1960, for instance, only one question was asked in Parliament on nuclear waste, and that didn’t come until December, on the planned national radioactive waste disposal service. Ministers today have to make sure today’s trainee nuclear scientists are not poached from the taxpayer – sponsored National Nuclear Academy in Cumbria by private-sector companies with fat chaque books keen to recruit for the potential new reactor construction programme. There is a moral obligation on the UK’s atomic quango, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, to retain this expertise to deliver its mission of safely managing the national nuclear waste burden. Posted by Dr David Lowry on 14 February 2009 ” (bold added)

More recently:
Sellafield to be prosecuted for sending radioactive waste to wrong disposal site: Environment Agency takes nuclear firm to court after waste went to landfill instead of Drigg site” The Guardian, Thursday 7 February 2013http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/07/sellafield-prosecuted-radioactive-waste-disposal And, is this really the only time or the only time they were caught?

Nuclear waste barrels remain strewn across floor of English Channel – report”  Published time: April 12, 2013 “German journalists have found barrels of radioactive waste in an underwater valley in the English Channel, which were dumped there half a century ago. Politicians in Germany have called for the potentially harmful containers to be removed.” Article here: http://rt.com/news/nuclear-waste-english-channel-785/ (bold added) At least someone has got their wits about them still by asking that the dumped barrels be fetched back up! They are just offshore in Europe and in North America!

In the USA they also have problems, such as:  
Hanford Nuclear Waste Tanks Could Explode, Agency Warns” By Shannon Dininny 04/02/13 
“Yakima, Wash. — Underground tanks that hold a stew of toxic, radioactive waste at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site pose a possible risk of explosion, a nuclear safety board said
State and federal officials have long known that hydrogen gas could build up inside the tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, leading to an explosion that would release radioactive material. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board recommended additional monitoring and ventilation of the tanks last fall, and federal officials were working to develop a plan to implement the recommendation.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/hanford-nuclear-waste-could-explode_n_3001134.html We’ve known for what seems like forever that they were going to leak but EXPLODE!?

Nuclear unclear: Radioactive materials disappear in UK over last decade”  Published time: May 06, 2013 “The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released papers under the freedom of information act, revealing that radioactive materials have gone missing from businesses, hospitals and universities more than 30 times in the past 10 years.” Article here: http://rt.com/news/radioactive-uk-materials-lost-882/ Video here:

[NB:  This is a sort of Part 1 or run-up to another post that we are working on. You will be amazed….. The official quoted above by Dr. Lowry seems to have hit the nail on the head! The best and brightest have apparently not been assigned the job of dealing with waste! Or, they have not been given appropriate funding.]