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Sellafield is on the Irish Sea, so there will be water birds in the neighborhood. This is a bird’s eye view:
Sellafield on Irish Sea Birds Eye View
The water bird (or migrating birds) might next see all of these nice open pools of water, as s/he approached.
Sellafield Fuel pools zoom
Not knowing that it is dangerously radioactive, the bird chooses one:
B-30 Pond Seagull 2013 public domain via ecologist .org
Now the bird is in trouble, whether it is caught and killed or not!
Sellafield Waste Pond Too hot for birds and humans
Image from Radiation Free Lakeland
B-30 Fuel Pond: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2617041/the_ecologist_places_leaked_sellafield_fuel_pond_photos_in_public_domain.html


Radiation Free Lakeland remarks that Black-headed gulls are routinely killed at Sellafield: “These beautiful birds are routinely culled on the Sellafield site – and held in freezers waiting for dumping as radioactive wastes.https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/just-a-black-headed-gull/

The UK government says: “The Sellafield site actively manages the potential transfer of contamination off-site by wildlife. This mainly includes managing the number of seagulls and pigeons that nest on the site by culling and removing nests and nesting material. The rabbit population on the site was reported to be low due to a natural population collapse. Deer have been observed outside of the main security fence but not on site. There is an ongoing monitoring programme for analysing wildlife that is found on the site. Gully pots near the site entrance are routinely monitored due to historic off-site transfer of contamination to sediments by pigeon guano” (p. 20). Clyne, F.J., Garrod, C.J. and Papworth, G.P., 2014. Radiological Habits Survey: Sellafield, 2013. RL 02/14. Cefas, Lowestoft © Crown copyright, 2014, Open Government. http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/publications/environment/Sellafield2013.pdf
(Collapse of rabbit population is a very bad sign!)

Cull is a euphemism for Kill. Many euphemisms in the English language are from old French, like beef, pork, etc. The first French conquest of the UK was in 1066 and for a very long time the aristocracy spoke French. Oh, pardon! The Queen still does! http://youtu.be/t4o5ICxpvys But, their maternal language was French. The related word in French cueillir is usually good things like gathering flowers, fruits or nuts – not killing off birds and deer contaminated with radiation from nuclear facilities!

The new conquest by France is the French government owned or controlled nuclear industry: EDF/GdF-Suez/Areva, as well as Thales.

How Radioactive are the birds?

No one really knows, or rather those in the know don’t seem to be telling, unless we overlooked it. Research by both the UK government and an independent lab showed incredibly high levels in birds in the area of Sellafield, while it was still operated by the UK government. However, we have found no reports of the levels since operations were privatized, only that radiation has been found in birds (2010,2012). (In November 2008 the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) contracted the management of Sellafield Ltd to Nuclear Management Partners Ltd, a consortium of American URS, British AMEC and French government owned Areva. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BNFL URS was recently sold to AECOM.)

the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food advised local residents on 14 February 1998 not to handle, slaughter or consume any pigeons found within a ten mile radius of the [Sellafield] site.” (see emails below) One UK government document gives the amount found in bird meat at 50,000 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium (137) and one gives it at 110,000 Bq/kg (0.11 MBq kg-1) of radioactive cesium (137). (see emails plus http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/publications/rife/rife7.pdf)

The second figure given is over twice the number of becquerels (radioactive disintegrations per second), and yet both allege that eating 20 birds would give you 1 mSv exposure. This should help us to see a) how sky-high the “recommended” ICRP annual maximum dosage of 1 mSv truly is, and b) that these people are dangerously bad in mathematics or dangerously prone to typos. It furthermore shows that they are cheating since the 1 mSv is presumably only for the Caesium 137 and not counting other radionuclides. Plus for alpha emitters, like plutonium and americium, there is a weighting factor, which must be included. The 1 mSv is supposed to be a maximum for exposure from all nuclear facilities.

That’s 110,000 radiative emissions-disintegrations per second for one kg, i.e. 2.2 pounds or about 22,000 radioactive emissions per serving of caesium 137 ONLY! But, they ingested other radionuclides, making the Caesium a marker.

The above figures are UK government testing. CORE and Greenpeace had six birds analyzed by an independent lab, which found that bird feathers had 403,000 Bq/kg of Caesium137 and 21,300 Bq/kg of Americium 241. The breast meat had 50,000 Bq/kg of Caesium 137 and the skull had 176,000 Bq/kg of Strontium 90. Subsequently, Sellafield (BNFL) killed herring gulls, starlings, rooks, crows, sparrows, cats, rabbits, mice, other small animals and mosquitoes, in the area around the site. See more details here: http://www.corecumbria.co.uk/tour/seascale.htm

Americium, an alpha emitter, is very dangerous upon ingestion. It is also a gamma emitter: “Americium-241 is an unstable (radioactive) isotope with a half-life of 432.7 years. As it decays, it releases alpha and gamma radiation and changes into neptunium-237, which is also radioactive.http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/americium.html

From our understanding, all of these birds were offsite and not at Sellafield.
Note that they warned about birds within a 10 mile radius! Their contamination may have been more directly from the pollution which Sellafield emits into the Irish Sea itself and/or air.

On Wednesday, February 11, 1998 the BBC reported in “UK Sellafield radioactive pigeon scare“, that contaminated pigeons were in the nearby town of Seascale:
Sellafield Seascale
From the article: “A BNFL spokeswoman confirmed they had tested around 150 of the dead birds and found significant levels of radiation.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/55612.stm

In the context of opposition to the URENCO uranium enrichment facility in New Mexico, formerly called LES, because they tried, but failed, to set up shop in Louisiana, the following statements from UK authorities were revealed:
98/98 13 March 1998
The results of independent monitoring carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on pigeons in the Sellafield area are published on the Internet today…
Following the recent discovery of elevated levels of radioactive contamination in feral pigeons close to British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) Sellafield, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food advised local residents on 14 February 1998 not to handle, slaughter or consume any pigeons found within a ten mile radius of the site. The advice was based on provisional monitoring undertaken by BNFL. MAFF’s results confirm the advice issued was appropriate.

MAFF monitoring to date indicates levels of radioactive caesium of up to 50,000 Bq/kg in the breast meat of pigeons. This indicates that consumption of the breast meat of about 20 birds would give a radiation dose of 1 mSv. The public dose limit is 1 mSv/year.
http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0405/ML040560622.pdf (See original at bottom)

Problems have continued:

In 2012:
Sellafield swallows contaminated by radioactivity
Birds nesting by the nuclear power plant have traces of radioactivity in their droppings
” by Rob Edwards, Friday 8 June 2012 19.18 BST http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jun/08/radioactive-swallows-sellafield

In 2010:
Gulls contaminated with radiation culled at Sellafield” 25 February 2010 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cumbria/8536094.stm
They do not give radiation amounts.

From the UK gov: “Previous reports in this series have dealt with the issue of contamination associated with pigeons in the vicinity of Sellafield. Internal contamination, mainly of caesium-137, in birds sampled by MAFF was found up to 0.11 MBq kg-1. This is far in excess of the EU Food Intervention Levels that would apply in the event of an accident. Consuming the breast meat of 20 birds contaminated at the highest level would have resulted in a dose of 1 mSv. Remedial measures, including a substantial cull of pigeons in the area, have been undertaken by BNFL. Nevertheless the advice issued by MAFF on 14th February 1998 remains in place as a precaution. People were advised not to handle, slaughter or consume pigeons within a 10 miles radius of the site. However, this precautionary advice is in the process of being reviewed in 2002, and feral pigeons recently caught in the vicinity of the site are to be analysed. The results will be made available on http://www.food.gov.uk. A full review of the incident was published in 1999 (CBC et al, 1999).” (p. 52) http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/publications/rife/rife7.pdf
Radioactivity in Food and the Environment, 2001, RIFE – 7, September 2002” © Crown Copyright, 2002, Open Government.

0.11 MBq kg-1 is 110, 000 becquerels per kilogram (2.2 pounds), i.e. 110,000 radioactive disintegrations (emissions) per second!

URENCO-LES objection - Sellafield, p. 1
URENCO-LES objection - Sellafield, p. 2
URENCO-LES objection - Sellafield, p. 3
Emphasis added; original: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0405/ML040560622.pdf