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A study undertaken by the Norwegian government, several years ago, modelled a hypothetical accident at Sellafield and found the impacts could be seven times more severe than Chernobyl for Norway. Norway was severely hit by Chernobyl. Lambs, reindeer and goats would be especially badly hit. The study only examined impacts on the land and not for the fisheries. Even without an accident, Norwegian waters are impacted by the radionuclides still ejected into the Irish Sea by Sellafield. They are also impacted by the UK Dounreay facilities in Scotland.

USDA Sheep image cropped
Old Russia Reindeer cropped

Short abstract from the Norwegian Government’s “Consequences in Norway after a hypothetical accident at Sellafield – Predicted impacts on the environment, 2010“:
This report deals with the environmental consequences in Norway after a hypothetical accident at Sellafield. The investigation is limited to the terrestrial environment, and focus on animals grazing natural pastures, plus wild berries and fungi. Only 137Cs is considered. The predicted consequences are severe – in particular for mutton and goat milk production.

Though far from Chernobyl, Norway took a very bad hit from it. Much of Europe took a bad hit, the impacts of which are still seen today. On September 1st Das Bild, Germany, discussed that both land and wild boar are still badly contaminated in some areas of continental Europe. In some parts of Norway, reindeer are still badly contaminated from Chernobyl, and the Norwegian government continues to monitor them: http://www.environment.no/Goals-and-indicators/Goals-and-indicators/Radioactive-pollution/Limit-radiation/Geographical-distribution-of-caesium-137-in-soils-in-Norway-/Caesium-137-in-wild-reindeer-/

Norway, who has no nuclear energy, and its Reindeer Herders have paid a high price for Russia’s nuclear industry, just as they could for the UK’s. The impacts of an accident at Sellafield in the UK could prove even worse for Norway. This is patently unfair.

This is something to think about as the UK wants to add 3 new nuclear reactors next to the existing Sellafield nuclear facilities. The proposed reactors are the AP 1000 design, whose safety has been questioned by some. The reactor supplier is Westinghouse which is 87% Toshiba owned, 10% KazAtomProm, and 3% IHI owned. Toshiba has been involved in the Fukushima cleanup, which should give everyone pause. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorside_Nuclear_Project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_disaster_cleanup

Note that the 17 PBq, estimated fallout of Cs 137, is 17,000,000,000,000,000 Becquerels (radioactive disintegrations per second). Their study was for Cesium 137 only, thus it excludes impacts from other, longer-lived, radionuclides, such as plutonium and americium.

Longer Abstract from “Consequences in Norway after a hypothetical accident at Sellafield – Predicted impacts on the environment“, 2010:

This report describes the possible environmental consequences for Norway due to a hypothetical accident at the Sellafield complex in the UK. The scenario considered involves an explosion and fire at the B215 facility resulting in a 1% release of the total HAL 1 inventory of radioactive waste with a subsequent air transport and deposition in Norway. Air transport modelling is based on real meteorological data from October 2008 with wind direction towards Norway and heavy precipitation. This weather is considered to be quite representative as typical seasonal weather. Based on this weather scenario, the estimated fallout in Norway will be ~17 PBq of caesium-137 which is 7 times higher than the fallout from the Chernobyl accident.

The modelled radioactive contamination is linked with data on transfer to the food chain and statistics on production and hunting to assess the consequences for foodstuffs. The investigation has been limited to the terrestrial environment, focussing on wild berries, fungi, and animals grazing unimproved pastures (i.e. various types of game, reindeer, sheep and goats).

The predicted consequences are severe – especially in connection to sheep and goat production. Up to 80 % of the lambs in Norway could be exceeding the food intervention levels for radiocaesium the first years after the fallout, with 30-40 % likely to be above for many years. There will, consequently, be a need for extensive countermeasures in large areas for years or even decades involving several hundred thousand animals each year. Large consequences are also expected for reindeer husbandry – the first year in particular due to the time of fallout which is just prior to winter slaughter. The consequences will be most sever for reindeer herding in middle and southern parts of Norway, but problems may reach as far north as Finnmark where we find the majority of Norwegian reindeer production.

1 HAL (Highly Active liquor) is highly radioactive liquid waste from reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel The consequences for game will mostly depend on the regional distribution of species. For instance, the density of moose is very low in the most contaminated western parts of Norway, whereas a considerable fraction of red deer is found in these areas. Consumption restrictions will probably be needed for moose, red deer and roe deer in many areas.

As part of the report “Nasjonalt risikobilde” (national threat assessment), the described Sellafield scenario is used to exemplify a nuclear threat scenario for Norway. It will look at wider consequences of such an accident, such as the impact on health, economy and society. The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) is leading the work on the national threat assessment and the report is due in 2011.
By Thørring H, Ytre-Eide MA, Liland A. “Consequences in Norway after a hypothetical accident at Sellafield – Predicted impacts on the environment. StrålevernRapport 2010:13. Østerås: Statens strålevern“, 2010. The entire study is here: http://www.nrpa.no/dav/9d9004bb5b.pdf

large stop moorcide deer

(Sheep photo above cropped from USDA.gov; Reindeer cropped from public domain image; Stop Moorcide by Radiation Free Lakeland: http://mariannewildart.wordpress.com )