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Repaired, Reinvented and Revitalized: Annandale Historic Distillery

The Annandale Historic Distillery is in line with the Annan Regeneration Master Plan, old nuclear submarine reactors from UK MOD are not.
Annandale Historic Distillery.  Photo by Martyn Jenkins, CC-BY-NC-SA, via Flickr
Annandale Historic Distillery being repaired. Photo by Martyn Jenkins, CC-BY-NC-SA, via Flickr

One shot of whiskey, or one serving of another alcoholic beverage, provides the same heart healthy benefits as hiking or running. We kid you not. It has been known for decades to increase the HDL “good cholesterol”: “Alcohol consumption tends to raise HDL levels, and moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.“[1] Excess consumption has the reverse effect, of course. So, a nip of whiskey is good, drunkenness, unfortunately, is bad. And, it won’t be the hair of the dog that bit you which helps.

In stark contrast to the health benefits of hiking and/or a nip of whiskey, radionuclides, from nuclear energy and waste, attack the cardiovascular system both radiological and chemically. In particular, potassium is needed for heart function, and radioactive Cesium 134 and 137 mimic potassium, thus representing a chemical and radiological risk. Cesium delivers radiation straight to the cardiovascular (and nervous) system, attacking it and impacting radiologically, which, for instance, impacts the flexibility of blood vessel walls. To the extent that cesium replaces potassium, it is dangerous and could even be fatal, in the short term. Thus, there are short and long-term risks. Cesium is present in the old nuclear sub reactor pressure vessels, which the UK MOD wants to send to the Chapelcross site. Tritium, which was made at the Chapelcross site for nuclear weapons, binds to make tritiated water, which disperses radiation throughout the body. However, if the site ceases to emit more radionuclides, it will eventually wash away to the Irish Sea. Tritiated rain will fall elsewhere, maybe on “Baroness” Verma in Leicester or Ed and Henry Davey in London. From the Irish Sea tritium will pass up to Norway and into the Arctic, adding to the earth and sea’s overall burden. Thus, tritium should decrease at the Chapelcross site, as long as more is not emitted.[2]

For those who would like to hike, and perhaps eat cheese along the way, there is also “Annandale Way”, opened in 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annandale_Way
Annandale Way, Annandale Distillery, Chapel Cross
The Annandale Historic Distillery, Annandale Way, and Chapelcross former nuclear site, where UK MOD wants to send its nuclear sub reactor pressure vessels
Distillery and Chapelcross

Most assuredly, only because the Chapelcross Nuclear site is planned to soon ramp down its radioactive emissions, the old whiskey distillery has re-opened nearby. It is much more than a distillery, however, it is a historic site and a museum. Finishing the rehabilitation-preservation of the old Annandale Distillery site will have taken almost a decade when it is complete. They appear to have only a few finishing touches left.

It’s a serious endeavor and a good-faith investment in the planned diversification of the local economy, with a focus on food and tourism. It fits into Annan’s Master Plan of “Repair, Reinvent, Revitalize.” The plan furthermore notes that those less skilled Chapelcross workers are “precisely the type of workforce that traditionally benefit from an increase in the availability of service sector/tourism jobs.[3]
Annandale Distillery view from the main road
Annandale Distillery Seen from a main road

So, nuclear or food and tourism? Nuclear anything really excludes the other two, especially in the age of internet, facebook and twitter, where news spreads quickly and dissipates ignorance. The choice of food and tourism is clearly a no-brainer. Nearby Gretna Green makes its business wedding tourism. That is lovely, isn’t it? And, who would want food from near a nuclear site? All the more in the event of an accident?

Although the Annandale Distillery currently employs only 19, there is room for growth, and the tourism spin-off job potential. The “A” on the logo, which looks like a sail, represents the many Scots who were embarked from Annan to Ireland, the Americas, and Australia-New Zealand. This is the homeland of the Johnston Clan and others. Johnston is one of the most common names in Northern Ireland and prevalent throughout Ireland, North America, and Australia-New Zealand. Like the Highlands, this area is remote and less populated due to UK government policy – political and economic – and not because no one ever lived there.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD)’s attempts to foist the old nuclear reactor pressure vessels upon the local community run counter to plans to re-invent the area as a site for tourism and food. It also runs counter to Scotland’s plan to be nuclear free. While one is tempted to say that the current inhabitants of Scotland get their just deserts, for voting to stay in union with London, even after London had promised to make them into a greater nuclear dumping ground, this is unfair to the environment, but also to the many who should be able to call this, their indigenous homeland, home, but who have no right of return.

It is patently unfair that the approximately 50 million people of Scottish origins, scattered to the four winds by the policies of London, whether political or economic, and sometimes directly by the British military, get no say-so in whether their homeland should serve as a “remote” location of London’s nuclear waste, including that emitted by its still-active nuclear subs at Faslane and in the decommissioning of old nuclear subs at Rosyth.


Someone has recently alleged that it is insufficient to oppose nuclear waste in one’s backyard and that there must be planning grounds.[3] The document to which they link shows a rather myopic view of planning, of the eyesore type. Indeed, the proposed housing for the nuclear reactor pressure vessels will be an eyesore. At least the UK MOD does propose to house them, unlike the US which is burying their nuclear submarine reactors on American Indian land at Hanford, apparently with no qualms at all.

It is difficult to speak of planning and impacts on an agrarian economy, evacuation, etc., when the UK makes the evacuation zones even more ridiculously small than the US does. For food, the US assumes a 50 mile radius zone of impact. However, Chernobyl showed that a nuclear disaster can impact agriculture-animal husbandry for decades, one to two thousand miles away. While the risks associated with the old reactor pressure vessels would seemingly not be as great, they may well be a risk for at least a 50 mile radius.

There is also the PR-marketing issue, which meant that a Dutch cheese-maker opted out of building a factory at Lillyhall, Cumbria, because Swedish Studsvik applied to open a nuclear waste facility next door, at the same time. The Annandale distillery, however, decided to re-open well before MOD short-listed the Chapelcross site for nuclear waste, making the MOD short-listing an unfair double-cross.

Furthermore, how dare the MOD, or anyone else associated with the Nuclear industry, speak of planning? The only ones who planned, in this regards, appear to be the Austrians who, early on, realized that they didn’t want the nuclear waste and so voted against the opening of an already built nuclear power station, which is now a solar power station. Even their planning was incomplete, and they have sent waste from their experimental reactors to dump on America. Ireland opted out indirectly, by opting out of the UK militaristic empire, which hasn’t protected them from the UK spewing nuclear waste into the Irish Sea.

The planning is what should have taken place before the nuclear industry came into being. This is especially true for an island as densely populated as the UK, although it holds probably less than half the population which it would have, had it not scattered its people across the world. MODs concern that the location of this waste be remote, as well as its concerns regarding the difficulty of passive safety of the old nuclear reactor pressure vessels should be all that anyone needs to know to ascertain that this is dangerous waste. Even in the best of all circumstances they plan to cut up the pressure vessels, releasing nuclear waste into the environment, before they are removed from the site. See: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/scotland-remote-location-for-old-uk-nuclear-sub-reactor-pressure-vessels-deadline-for-comment-feb-20th/

About the Recently Re-habed, Re-opened, Historic, Annandale Distillery

Annandale Distillery is a whisky distillery producing single malt Scotch whisky produced in Annandale, Scotland. Annandale Distillery was opened in 1830 by George Donald and was later bought by Johnnie Walker in 1893 and was closed down in 1924.[1] In 2007 the distillery was reopened by the Annandale Distillery Company. In 2008, the company received a grant of £150,000 from the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) support as part of a £4m investment which will employ up to 19 people[2][3]

In November 2014, the Annandale Visitor Centre opened and the first casks were distilled, with the first Annandale single malt whiskies being bottled three years later in 2018 under the brands Man O’Sword inspired by the warrior king Robert the Bruce, the 7th Lord of Annandale and King of Scots, and Man O’Words in tribute to Robbie Burns, Scotland’s National Bard, who lived in nearby Dumfries.[4]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annandale_distillery (Emphasis our own)

If you’ve no interest in drinking whiskey, you could still by a bottle as a souvenir, and/or send them money to help with the rehab of the site, for it’s a very nice project and a chance for a fresh start, away from nuclear. As you see, it was very costly to make it anew.

Regarding Economic Development Plans for Annan

The Galloway Economic Review (2007); Regional Economic Strategy; and the Single Outcome Agreement identified a need for social and economic regeneration in Annan and the sub-region to address wider challenges… There have been a number of recent closures and economic losses associated with some of the area’s largest and most significant local businesses, e.g. Young’s Seafood and Shasum Pharma amongst others. These difficulties have focussed discussions on the need to diversify Annan’s economic base… CoReS is focussed on the impact of Chapelcross, however the programme itself recognises the impact of the closure of one of the Town’s major employers. The third workforce group is particularly vulnerable in that they are less mobile, with fewer skills, lower educational attainment and therefore less adaptable to market change. Indeed this group is more vulnerable than many of the skilled engineers that are affected by the closure of Chapelcross. Interestingly this group are precisely the type of workforce that traditionally benefit from an increase in the availability of service sector / tourism jobs….http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=11771&p=0

Some of the Strengths of the region, according to the Master Plan

High quality natural environment
Good road networks
Gateway to D&G and Scotland
Strong sense of local community
Low crime rates, low unemployment, growth of self-employment
Loyalty and flexibility of workforce
Thriving and wide ranging activity of voluntary sector
Relatively low house prices
Active experienced older population
Social enterprises – ability to use external funding for development
http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=11771&p=0 (Emphasis added).

The theme of the Master Plan is “Repair, Reinvent, Revitalize See the Plan here: http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=11771&p=0

Clearly nuclear waste undermines the “natural environment” and this is a prime location for tourism. There are many historic tourist sites, which, unfortunately, right now, we’ve no time to discuss.

About the Ramping Down of Chapelcross Nuclear Site

Since the former nuclear power station ceased generating in 2004, Chapelcross has been undertaking a programme of defuelling and decommissioning on the site. …2017 when Chapelcross enters into a phase of minimal activity, known as interim care and maintenance,…http://www.nda.gov.uk/2011/05/nda-award-1-2m-to-beyond-chapelcross-project/

The cooling towers were demolished in 2007, around the time that the distillery site was purchased: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/6673817.stm

Status of the site in 2009: http://www.sepa.org.uk/radioactive_substances/publications/other_reports/idoc.ashx?docid=76458912-4877-4609-b82c-ab66a42c34e5&version=-1


[1] “Men tend to have noticeably lower HDL levels, with smaller size and lower cholesterol content, than women. Men also have an increased incidence of atherosclerotic heart disease. Alcohol consumption tends to raise HDL levels,[12] and moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Recent studies confirm the fact that HDL has a buffering role in balancing the effects of the hypercoagulable state in type 2 diabetics and decreases the high risk of cardiovascular complications in these patients. Also, the results obtained in this study revealed that there was a significant negative correlation between HDL and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT).[13] Epidemiological studies have shown that high concentrations of HDL (over 60 mg/dL) have protective value against cardiovascular diseases such as ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction. Low concentrations of HDL (below 40 mg/dL for men, below 50 mg/dL for women) increase the risk for atherosclerotic diseases. Data from the landmark Framingham Heart Study showed that, for a given level of LDL, the risk of heart disease increases 10-fold as the HDL varies from high to low. On the converse, however, for a fixed level of HDL, the risk increases 3-fold as LDL varies from low to high.[14][15] Even people with very low LDL levels are exposed to increased risk if their HDL levels are not high enough.[16]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-density_lipoprotein

Disclaimer: This should not be construed as medical advice. Each body is different and it is always best to consult with your doctor and pharmacist. Some medications, such as antihistamines and aspirin, cannot be taken in conjunction with alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, there should be no alcohol intake for pregnant women. And, what is good for the heart appears often bad for breast health, and alcohol consumption may increase the risk of breast cancer, all while reducing the risk of heart disease. The risk seems to have to do with the liver processing the alcohol, and thus having less time to break down excess hormones.

Nonetheless, any risks from alcohol for developing babies or for breast cancer pale beside the risks from the nuclear industry. Most surely the number one cause of breast cancer has to be operating nuclear reactors which legally emit radioactive iodine into the environment, along with historic weapons testing, as well as nuclear waste.

Iodine binds to breast tissue, and so will radioactive iodine. While breast cancer pre-dated the nuclear age, it was never prevalent as it is today.

From the religious perspective, the main concerns regarding alcohol would appear to be drunkenness, which is also a public health concern. There is, as well, concern that a dependency will develop on the alcohol, rather than on God. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, believed in wine for medicinal purposes. His opposition to alcohol was to grain alcohol (hard liquor) due to concern that the use of grain crops for the making of alcohol took food from the mouths of the poor, that people would spend money on alcohol and starve their children, and that drunkenness kept the poor from uplifting themselves.

[2] For a start on the radiological and chemical impacts of radionuclides, look especially in our Radioactive Reindeer series. Do a search for Reindeer within the search button to turn it up.

Putting an End to the Big Banana Lie: Details on why Potassium is Good and Cesium is Bad.

A becquerel is a radioactive emission per second. Each gram of Cesium 137 emits 3,215,000,000,000 radioactive emissions per second, i.e. it has a (radio) activity of 3.2 trillion becquerels per gram. Each gram of Natural potassium emits 30 radioactive emissions per second. It has around 30 Becquerels per gram. That is plain THIRTY. Potassium is necessary for life. It is steady-state in the body. Only 0.012% of natural potassium is radioactive, potassium 40 (K-40). On the other hand, if you become potassium deficient your body may pick up radioactive Cesium 137 in its stead which emits 3.2 trillion becquerels per gram, compared to 30 becquerels per gram for potassium. If you are too potassium deficient you die. So, eating potatoes and bananas and other potassium rich food is necessary for life and may help protect you from radioactive cesium. To frighten people away from eating potassium rich foods, like bananas and potatoes, is murder.

Cesium 137 has 3.2 trillion Bq per gram (3,215,000,000,000) and Natural potassium has 30 Bq per gram. That’s how BIG their lie is. They are following Hitler’s Big lie theory. Their lie is big and it is deadly.

The activity of 40K in natural potassium as derived from the recent literature varies between 27.33 to 31.31 Bq g-1 of potassium.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9044422

Potassium 40: “It makes up 0.012% (120 ppm) of the total amount of potassium found in nature.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium-40

One gram of caesium-137 has an activity of 3.215 terabecquerel (TBq).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137 In case they delete it from wikipedia, it is here: http://www.bevoelkerungsschutz.admin.ch/internet/bs/de/home/dienstleistungen/ze_99.parsys.21164.downloadList.2522.DownloadFile.tmp/ad1719ken.pdf A Terabecquerel is ONE TRILLION BECQUERELS.

According to the Irish government: “Potassium-40, a naturally occurring radionuclide, is present in relatively large activity concentrations in the marine environment. However it is controlled by homeostatic processes in the human body [Eisenbud and Gessell, 1997] and its equilibrium activity concentration in the body is normally independent of the amount consumed. Therefore, while the activity concentrations of this radionuclide in seafood are considerably higher than many other natural radionuclides, its presence does not result in an increased radiological hazardhttps://www.rpii.ie/RPII/files/7d/7dd84765-857b-4c45-9fab-8542a428a3e4.pdf

[3] http://no2nuclearpower. org. uk/documents/SAFE_ENERGY_No64.pdf