AECOM, aquifer, Arctic, AREVA, cancer, clean water, climate change, coastal erosion, cumbria, Cumbrian aquifer, dangers of nuclear, Drigg, Drigg geology, drigg radionuclides, environment, GDF-Suez, Ireland, Irish Sea, Isle of Man, land slip, land undercut, landslide, Mann, NHS, Norway, nuclear, nuclear energy, nuclear industry, nuclear power, nuclear reactors, nuclear safety, nuclear waste, plutonium, radiation, radioactive beach, radioactive waste, rising sea-level, risk management, Scotland, Sellafield, sudden slip failure, Toshiba, UK, URS, water, WIPP
Information on how to oppose Drigg found here: https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/lock-the-gate-on-drigg-nuclear-waste-site-15th-july-in-kendal/
For the LLWR-Drigg, “radionuclides included within the radiological assessment for the groundwater pathway” in a study for the British government (EA-NDA) are: “Am-241, Am-242m, Am-243, C-14, Cl-36, Cm-243, Cm-244, Cm-245, Cm-246, Cm-248, Co-60, Cs-135, Cs-137, H-3, I-125, I-129, I-131, Nb-94, Nb-95, Ni-63, Np-237, Pa-231, Pb-210, Pu-236, Pu-238, Pu-239, Pu-240, Pu-241, Pu-242, Ra-226, Sr-90, Tc-99, Th-230, Th-232, U-233, U-234, U-235, U-238, Zr-93” http://llwrsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/1_-9451-Sorption-Parameters-for-Geosphere-KD-Issue-1-MASTER-01-02-11.pdf (Thus, these are apparently the ones believed to be present.)
Rusting Shipping Containers of Nuclear Waste at Drigg Near the Irish Sea
As can be seen above, low level doesn’t mean low risk. Nor does it mean short-lived, as is seen below. Many have half-lives of thousands and even millions of years. Rather, this is a dilute to deceive scam so popular with illegal polluters, but this is condoned by the UK Government (as well as by the US govt): “radioactive waste having a radioactive content not exceeding four gigabecquerels per tonne (GBq/te) of alpha or 12 GBq/te of beta/gamma activity.” https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/254393/Low_level_waste_policy.pdf Thus, for each tonne dumped there are more radionuclides on site. 4 to 12 gigabecquerels is 4,000,000,000 Bq to 12,000,000,000 Bq (radioactive disintegrations -shots- per second). Alpha is especially dangerous internally.
While we will focus on the ones still very radioactive at the estimated time of collapse of the Drigg site, the ground water appears at risk more quickly. And, the geology sounds unstable. It appears easier, safer, and cheaper to close it and move it to an above ground proper enclosure, away from the coast, as soon as possible.
Some of the radionuclides presumed to still be radiologically lethal after the estimated undermining-collapse of the Drigg site are: C-14 half life is 5,730±40 yrs; Cm 245 half life 8500 yrs and it becomes Pu (plutonium) 241 which becomes Am 241 half life 432 yrs; Cm 246 half life 4730 yrs; Cm 247 half life 15.6 million yrs; Cm 248 half life 340,000 yrs; Iodine 129, half life 15.7 million yrs; Nb94 20,300 yrs; Np 237 with a half-life of 2.14 million years; Pa 231 half life 32760 yrs; Ni 63 half-life of 100.1 years Pu-238, half-life 88 yrs, alpha decays to U-234 half-life of 246,000 yrs; Pu-239, half-life 24,000 yrs to U-235 half-life 703.8 million yrs; Pu 240, half-life 6,560 years, alpha decay to U-236); Pu-241, half-life 14.4 years to Am-241, half-life 432 yrs; Pu 242 half-life of 373,300 years; Ra 226 half-life of 1620 yrs; Tc 99 211,000 yrs (NB: Tc 99 m becomes Tc 99 making technetium Tc 99m dangerous in both the very short and long term); Zr 93, half-life of 1.53 million yrs. (The reader can look up half-lives of the others. Check the numbers if you need it for other than general knowledge as we had no time to check for typos. It is shocking how many are dangerous for thousands and millions of years. Multiply half lives by around 13 to get close to non-radioactive. See chart at post bottom).
“Technetium 99 is the most significant long-lived fission product of uranium fission, producing the largest fraction of the total long-lived radiation emissions of nuclear waste.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium-99 “Exposure to technetium-99, as to all radionuclide’s, results in increased risk of cancer.” Technetium, [like iodine] concentrates in the thyroid. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/nwp/gwcontaminants.htm
Some of the shorter-lived radionuclides such as Cesium 137 and Strontium 90 with half-lives of around 30 years will still be somewhat radioactive after 300 years, as seen in the chart at the post bottom. Furthermore, Cesium can act as a chemical poison since it can take the place of potassium in the body, needed for nerve function, including the heart. Strontium can replace calcium in the body and probably acts as a chemical poison too.
The Drigg Nuclear (LLWR) Waste Site Sounds Geologically Unstable
© NDA-Crown-OGL from document below.
“The LLWR has a complex geological history, with up to 50 meters of variable drift deposits (unconsolidated material), overlying the solid bedrock…” The uppermost unit of bedrock “has a relatively homogeneous lithological composition of weakly to firmly cemented fine to medium-grained sandstone. There are subtle variations in composition, with variations in cement strength and lithological composition recognised vertically… Large-scale faulting with a similar orientation to the regional structural orientation may exist beneath the LLWR site, but a lack of information from the deeper sub-surface means this cannot be proved or disproved./ Locally, there may also be smaller associated zones of structural disturbance. Frequent, small-scale structural discontinuities including faults, fractures and joints have been recognised at outcrop at the nearby Sellafield site. These fractures range from open to partially or completely in-filled or cemented. Their spacing varies from centimetres to metres…” (Emphasis our own) http://llwrsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/1_-9451-Sorption-Parameters-for-Geosphere-KD-Issue-1-MASTER-01-02-11.pdf ( © NDA-Crown-OGL)
Expected Collapse Due To Coastal Erosion
( © NDA-Crown-OGL)
“The Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) is situated near to areas of Cumbrian coastline where historical evidence indicates that the coast has receded in the past, and as it is anticipated that sea level will rise, it is expected that the repository area will be disrupted through coastal erosion and sea-level rise will accelerate this process… the precise timescale over which disruption by coastal erosion might occur is uncertain, however, the characteristics of the disposed waste inventory are such that, following the initial decay of shorter lived radionuclides within the waste, (within the first 300 years or so), there will be little additional decline in the residual hazard up until the time disruption occurs. After about 300 years, features that might delay disruption by additional decades, or even hundreds of years will thus not have a large effect on the radiological impact when disruption occurs.
As the primary mechanism of disruption is expected to be erosion by under-cutting at the base of the sea cliff (most likely below the base level of the vaults), engineered features of a near-surface vault disposal system are not expected to offer significant protection.
Any shoreline or coastal defences to protect against threats from coastal erosion or inundation would need to be continuously maintained over a substantial period in order to be effective in risk mitigation (this is impossible to substantiate and would be inconsistent with the regulatory principle that unreasonable reliance on human actions to protect the public and the environment should be avoided). Given the difficulty of identifying engineering measures that can provide effective passive control against threats from coastal erosion and inundation, safety arguments in the ESC ultimately centre on the overall acceptability of disposal itself.” (“LLW Repository, Holmrook, Cumbria: Site Optimisation and Closure Works Coastal Erosion Summary, 0 RP/340737 /PROJ/00032 , Version 2 , January 2015” © NDA-Crown-OGL), pp. 6-8 http://llwrsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Appendix-K2-Coastal-Erosion-Summary.pdf
The following document allows comparison of risk of radionuclides, as well as conversion from Bq to mSv. Part is for workers inhalation; part is for public ingestion; verify which tables you are looking at: “ANNEX F. EFFECTIVE DOSE COEFFICIENTS FOR INGESTION OF RADIONUCLIDES FOR MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC Table F.1. Effective dose coefficients (e) for ingestion of radionuclides for members of the public to 70 years of age.” http://www.icrp.org/docs/P%20119%20JAICRP%2041(s)%20Compendium%20of%20Dose%20Coefficients%20based%20on%20ICRP%20Publication%2060.pdf (Note that these ICRP dose coefficients are not set in stone; as they have repeatedly found that various radionuclides are more dangerous than previously thought, ICRP sometimes updates them; other organizations-agencies may give different dose coefficients. Choice of dose coefficient is very important for estimating food and water risk.)
Recent research suggests that risk of exposure to ionizing may be at least 15 times worse than BEIR VII (2006) estimated: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/another-look-at-the-recent-low-dose-radiation-exposure-study-inworks/ The risk is especially high when ingested