Chernobyl nuclear accident, EU, Europe, fallout, major hazards, Moorside, nuclear dangers, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear risks, nuclear waste, radiation plume, Sellafield, trans-border fallout, UK, Windscale, Windscale fire
“The Chernobyl accident is an obvious example of how human failures when dealing with a modern technical system can have global consequences and also be a potential threat to what we like to think of as the unspoiled wilderness of the Arctic ” (Ahman, 1998)
“The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain’s history, ranked in severity at level 5 on the 7-point International Nuclear Event Scale.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscale_fire Each of three proposed Moorside nuclear reactors is 6 times bigger than Windscale. They are bigger than the Chernobyl reactor.
In “Windscale fallout underestimated“, by Rebecca Morelle-BBC News, 6 October 2007, one finds a rare map of the Windscale fallout plume: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7030536.stm It seems have traveled about the same distance as the Chernobyl fallout.
Unable to find a Creative Commons or public domain map, we used the above map (supported by distance from Chernobyl to the UK, since Chernobyl impacted the UK) to make a rough estimate map, to help people to think about the broader impacts of an accident at the Sellafield site, at proposed new nuclear reactors near Sellafield (Moorside), and really of any nuclear reactor in Europe. The best way to stop Moorside is to vote for antinuclear candidates on May 7th. The impacts were especially unfair since nuclear-free countries such as Norway, Denmark, and Austria were badly hit by Windscale and/or Chernobyl. Parts of nuclear free Ireland were also hit by Windscale, as well as Chernobyl.
Where the fallout from a nuclear accident lands is somewhat the luck of the draw and depends on wind direction and rain at the time of the accident.
“The direction of the wind is defined as the direction from which the wind is blowing. As Atlantic depressions pass the UK the wind typically starts to blow from the south or south west, but later comes from the west or north-west as the depression moves away. The range of directions between south and north-west accounts for the majority of occasions and the strongest winds nearly always blow from this range of directions. Spring time tends to have a maximum frequency of winds from the north east, due to a build of high pressure over Scandinavia at this time of year. Summer can have a greater incidence of north-west or west winds associated with sea breezes.” http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/regional-climates/nw
UK OGL for Public Sector Information v3.0, Crown Copyright (Emphasis added)
Parts of Europe are still so contaminated from Chernobyl, Russian weapons testing, and/or Windscale, that they cannot take another nuclear fallout hit. Some reindeer in Scandinavia still have high levels of radiation and wild boar in Germany sometimes exceed the safe food levels. The UK recently gave up the difficult task of trying to figure out how many kilograms of fluffy sheep was meat and how much wool and decided to stop testing them, despite their sometimes exceeding safe EU food levels:
Capel Curig, Wales, UK
In 2012, BBC reported that a farmer “from Capel Curig, in Conwy, has around 1,000 sheep. Last year, 60 of his sheep exceeded radiation levels and had to be moved to lower ground.” http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-17472698
Unlike the UK, Norway continues to monitor its reindeer for radiation. One region has exceeded the EU food safety levels (600 Bq/kg) on a routine basis, but has usually remained within the sky-high US rule of 1200 Bq per kg for Cesium, making the US a good export market for canned radioactive reindeer (the total radiation allowed in US food is over 1500 Bq per kg).
Each of three proposed Moorside nuclear reactors is 6 times bigger than Windscale, and larger than Chernobyl.
Chernobyl reactor 4
Proposed for Moorside, Cumbria are 3 reactors with 3400 MW nameplate capacity or 1133 MW each.
“The AP1000 is a two-loop pressurized water reactor planned to produce a net power output of 1117 MWe Units planned, Nameplate capacity, 3,400 MW”
“Moorside nuclear power station is a proposal to build three AP1000 nuclear plants near Sellafield, in Cumbria, United Kingdom. The plan by NuGeneration, which is the British subsidiary of Toshiba-owned Westinghouse Electric Company, has the station coming online from 2024 with 3.4GW of new nuclear capacity.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorside_nuclear_power_station
Stop Moorside Petition
7,217 of 8,000 signatures: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-moorside-biggest-nuclear-development-in-europe
About continuing Chernobyl Fallout in Norway:
“Radioactive caesium in wild reindeer can vary widely from year to year and between different regions. In recent years, the highest levels have been found in northern Rondane and Snøhetta.
The wild reindeer in the northern parts of Rondane were among the populations that were most affected by the radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident in 1986. During the first years after the accident, high values of radioactive caesium were found. Measurements conducted during the winter months showed levels of up to 13 000 Bq/kg caesium-137 in reindeer meat. The high levels were due to intake of radioactive caesium from contaminated lichen.
Large variations from year to year and among different regions
There has been little reduction in cesium-137 levels in the last decade, and the results show large variations from year to year and between different regions. The radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl accident was unevenly dispersed across the country, causing the variations between reindeer populations from different areas.
The variations from year to year may be caused by their diet. Due to the fact that mushrooms generally take up more radioactive caesium from the soil that green plants do, the reindeer will accumulate more cesium-137 in years with a high abundance of mushroom. The high levels seen in northern Rondane in 2006, for example, were due to a high abundance of mushrooms that year, while in 2007 there were almost no mushrooms to be found in several areas.
Published by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, 26.09.2014” 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-/ (Emphasis our own)
Chernobyl Radiation: http://youtu.be/oZ74Rqh7yDE
“The Chernobyl accident is an obvious example of how human failures when dealing with a modern technical system can have global consequences and also be a potential threat to what we like to think of as the unspoiled wilderness of the Arctic.” from: “Contaminants in food chains of arctic ungulates: what have we learned from the Chernobyl accident?“, by Birgitta Ahman, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Reindeer Husbandry Unit, Rangifer, 18 (3-4), 1998 http://septentrio.uit.no/index.php/rangifer/article/viewFile/1455/1370
“Chernobyl sheep controls lifted in Wales and Cumbria“22 March 2012 http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-17472698
Green Party position on nuclear:
“EN261 We will cancel construction of new nuclear stations and nuclear power will not be eligible for government subsidy; the Green Party opposes all nuclear power generation and is particularly opposed to the construction of new nuclear power stations, electricity from which is likely to be significantly more expensive per unit supplied than other low-carbon energy sources, and too slow to deploy to meet our pressing energy needs. Cancellation will avoid the costs and dangers of nuclear energy and waste being passed on to future generations long after any benefits have been exhausted.
EN262 Money earmarked for new nuclear plant research, development and construction will be reallocated to energy efficiency measures and renewable energy infrastructure, but sufficient funding for decommissioning redundant power stations, and for research into the safe storage or disposal of existing radioactive waste stockpiles will be retained.” http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ey.html (Emphasis added)