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Campaign
Nuclear Waste

Around the world there are many hundreds of examples of the human and environmental damage caused by dumping toxic waste from modern industrial processes. Each time we deplore the cost of trying to clear up the mess and vow to regulate future processes better.
But that’s NOT what’s happening with the most long-lived and potentially destructive legacy from the nuclear energy and weapons industry.

The UK Government, faced with the dilemma of increasing volumes of radioactive waste, no viable solution for long-term disposal of high-level waste, and no remaining capacity in the Country’s only facility for interim storage, has made drastic changes to the Planning Laws which had offered a modicum of protection for local people from unsafe and unwanted developments. One tactic, in the name of localism, is to offer a financial incentive (or bribe) to Local Authorities to accept a high-level waste depository regardless of geological suitability and local opinion – as in Cumbria; another is to permit the use of landfill sites for the disposal of low-level waste – as at Kings Cliffe.

East Midlands CND has been particularly concerned about dumping so-called ‘low-level’ radioactive waste in landfill sites as the region is plentifully supplied with holes in the ground! We have been providing support to Kings Cliffe Waste Watchers, the local group that opposes the dumping of nuclear waste near their Northamptonshire village, some originating in Derby and from further afield, transported along the roads in the region.

Campaign Update
September 2017

Convoys carrying nuclear bombs are often seen on Britain’s roads, thundering through towns and cities. Comprising up to 20 vehicles, they take Trident warheads between the South of England & central Scotland two to six times a year. Yet most people are unaware of what’s happening and Local Authorities and Fire Services are not alerted, although an accident could lead to fires, explosions and the spread of radioactive contamination over cities. The demands of secrecy & security could compromise the safety of us all.
A convoy of four warhead carriers with all the escort vehicles left Burghfield on the morning of Monday May 15th and headed along the M4 and up the A34 past Oxford. As it was joining junction 9 of the M40, at around 11am, it obviously had a problem and pulled over onto the hard shoulder with some of the rear vehicles stopping in a layby, still on the A34. The police stopped all the traffic on the slip road so that one of the Mercedes armoured personnel carriers (APC)s could be turned around to face the wrong way and hitched up to the tow truck that travels with the convoy. After 45 minutes the convoy set off up the motorway and the tow truck with APC followed later.
These convoys travel through the East Midlands, often on the M1. If you spot one get in touch with www.nukesofhazard.co.uk  For more information: www.uk.icnw.org

Fukushima
The plant is releasing 770,000 tons of stored radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. Keeping the three meltdowns cool has been an ongoing challenge that has to be met. As fresh water is pumped over the cores, it is then stored on site in massive tanks. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the plant, then has to figure out what to do with that water. The announcement infuriated local fishermen and environmental groups across Japan.
The release of thousands of tons of radioactive tritium by a giant utility company into aquatic and natural environments is a blood-chilling prospect. Where are the defenders of public health? If they could pull the plug out of their mouth, they could tell us that the tritium is a toxic radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and that, once released, tritium cannot be removed from the environment.
Takashi Kawamura, TEPCO’s chairman, when asked about the decision to introduce this vast amount of radioactive water into the ocean, initially responded “The decision has already been made.”

Dounreay
Toxic cargoes of nuclear waste have left Scotland from Wick John O Groats Airport for US under armed guard on American military planes.The secretive operation, signed off by David Cameron and Barack Obama last year, aims to clear a backlog of nuclear waste stored at Dounreay power station in Caithness.
Independent nuclear consultant John Large said: “This is pretty toxic stuff. It is weapons grade material. It is quite active. It’s ticking away and it does not turn itself off. In the States, you cannot overfly with this type of material. The plane will put down on the east coast and the shipment will continue under armed escort by rail or by road.” He said the risks in transporting nuclear waste by aircraft included “in the event of a crash, the fuel being engulfed in fire, the packages breaking down and the fuel igniting”.
A further 10 transatlantic flights – each costing around £1 million – are expected. A spokesman for Dounreay, which is currently being decommissioned, said: “We can confirm nuclear materials are being removed from the site ahead of its closure.

Campaign Update
Summer 2017

Convoys carrying nuclear bombs are often seen on Britain’s roads, thundering through towns and cities. Comprising up to 20 vehicles, they take Trident warheads between the South of England & central Scotland two to six times a year. Yet most people are unaware of what’s happening and Local Authorities and Fire Services are not alerted, although an accident could lead to fires, explosions and the spread of radioactive contamination over cities. The demands of secrecy & security could compromise the safety of us all.

A convoy of four warhead carriers with all the escort vehicles left Burghfield on the morning of Monday May 15th and headed along the M4 and up the A34 past Oxford. As it was joining junction 9 of the M40, at around 11am, it obviously had a problem and pulled over onto the hard shoulder with some of the rear vehicles stopping in a layby, still on the A34. The police stopped all the traffic on the slip road so that one of the Mercedes armoured personnel carriers (APC)s could be turned around to face the wrong way and hitched up to the tow truck that travels with the convoy. After 45 minutes the convoy set off up the motorway and the tow truck with APC followed later.

These convoys travel through the East Midlands, often on the M1. If you spot one get in touch with www.nukesofhazard.co.uk  For more information: www.uk.icnw.org
Campaign Update
August 2016

Where is the Geological Disposal Facility for all our Nuclear Waste?
The Ministry of Defence has selected the Capenhurst site in Cheshire as the preferred site to store radioactive reactor pressure vessels from dismantled nuclear submarines. The selection of a site concludes a process begun in 2012 and now means that decommissioning work can begin on the submarines. The pressure vessels will be removed from the submarines at their current storage locations in Rosyth and Devonport naval dockyards and transported (by road) to the chosen site, where they will be stored until they can be transferred to a Geological Disposal Facility which the government hopes to construct for the storage of the UK’s radioactive waste legacy.
Sellafield was considered for this, but was unable to find a specific site and the MoD recognised it is seen as a ‘default’ site for holding UK radioactive waste legacies and that storing extre waste there would set an unwelcome precedent.
The length of time the Radioactive Pressure Vessels will be kept in storage depends on when a Geological Disposal Facility can be built. Currently no site has been selected, despite the process having begun in 2008 and the only sites currently under consideration have been vetoed by Cumbria County Council. Although the Pressure Vessels are classified as Intermediate Level Waste the Geological Disposal Facility will need to store High Level Waste as well and at present no deep geological high level waste facility has been built anywhere in the world.

Fukushima Ice Wall Coming Online
Officials working to try to contain the ongoing environmental catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan will soon begin operating a $320 million "ice wall" intended to stop the relentless flow of groundwater into the damaged reactor buildings. Nearly 40,000 gallons of water flood into the highly radioactive buildings daily, as the power plant was built in the path of groundwater flowing to the Pacific Ocean.
While some highly radioactive water has inevitably flowed into the Pacific, Tepco has built over 1,000 tanks that now hold over 800,000 tons of radioactive water. Critics argue that the ice wall is unlikely to work, and even proponents admit that it is only intended to work for a maximum of five years

Nuclear Accident Among the Costliest in History
The United States is currently dealing with challenges associated with a nuclear waste accident at New Mexico's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The accident occurred more than two years ago when a radioactive waste drum exploded, contaminating 35 percent of the underground site. Although early federal statements gave no mention that the site’s operational capacity would be diminished in the long term, current government projections are less optimistic. As of now officials are pushing to reopen the site by the end of 2016 with limited capacity, and to resume full operations by 2021. This significant delay has caused nuclear waste to be backed up in several states, creating a myriad of challenges and costs. Some sources estimate that the costs associated with the cleanup could reach $2 billion, which would make it one of the most expensive nuclear accidents in history.

 

Campaign Update
July 2016
Nuclear Security Summit Fails to Address Key Issues
The United States hosted the fourth, and possibly final, Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC on March 31 and April 1st this year. The summit brought together high-level leaders from over 50 nations, including seven of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons (Russia and North Korea excepted)

The Summit focused on securing highly-enriched uranium (HEU) in the civilian sector and similar steps to prevent terrorist groups from acquiring material to build nuclear weapons. John Burroughs, Executive Director of Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, criticized the narrow focus of the Summit. He said, "It was a strange spectacle indeed to have so much political capital invested in limited measures."
Burroughs went on to point out that the Summit did not address the estimated 15,000-plus nuclear weapons in the possession of states which say they are prepared to use them, the large stocks of HEU and plutonium in military programs, the large stocks of reactor-grade but weapons-usable plutonium, and ongoing production of HEU and plutonium and construction of new reprocessing plants to yield plutonium."

In the February this year our own government issued new guidance on transferring nuclear waste. It states: “Although many permits require reporting of transfers of radioactive waste, we no longer want this to be done and have removed the relevant section from the reporting system. We will take no action against operators for not reporting transfers”. It means that we will no longer know when nuclear waste is being transported by road, rail or air so that civil authorities can monitor movements or check on safety of its transfer.

DRIGG is the low level waste repository near Sellafield in Cumbria which way back in 1994 was investigated by Greenpeace and found to contain poorly packaged junk and high radiation levels and that the Low Level Waste Repository Management Company were missing records of what was dumped in there. This year Paul Merton was given access to the Drigg Nuclear Dump for his Channel 4 series ‘Secret Stations' and what he saw was an eye opener. Of course the packaging is much more hi tech now – it is in rotting shipping containers filled with concrete!

A  Planning Application for the “phased construction of additional vaults, higher stacking of containers etc ” was due to be heard in early 2016, but the decision has been put back again, possibly to June 23rd. Local campaigners are trying to raise awareness of the madness of ever more shipping containers full of radioactive wastes (low level does not mean safe or short lived!) just 300 metres from the Irish Sea.

Nuclear New Build hinges on Drigg remaining open and ever more Driggs and landfill sites being opened up for nuclear wastes, along with increasingly novel ways of getting rid of the wastes - such as dumping newly classified “high volume very low level” in ever more landfill and “recycling” radioactive scrap metal onto the open market.

Campaign Update
Spring 2016

Finding a solution to the ever increasing problem of the disposal of radioactive waste from the nuclear industry remains as intractable as ever. Experts say it could take up to 35 years to select and construct a waste disposal site. The estimated lifetime cost of disposing of the radioactive waste already accumulated  will cost  around £12bn, with £4bn estimated to be spent before the waste can be buried. Not surprisingly, therefore, last year the government decided to get round the opposition of local people to having such risky facilities in their communities by redefining such radioactive waste sites as ‘nationally significant infrastructure’ on which central government has the final say. They have also redefined the methods of disposal appropriate for the different categories of waste, so that ‘low-level’ may be disposed of in landfill or even incinerated.

EU regulations penalise governments for using landfill for the disposal of any waste, but they are now proposing plans for ‘waste-to-energy’ as a way of tackling the dangers of climate change and meeting energy requirements. Despite circular economy principles emphasising the need to use our resources in a more efficient way, incineration is the second-worst form of waste treatment (only better than landfilling) and contradicts the EU's climate commitments by promoting a polluting and inefficient form. We already know that Rolls-Royce has been disposing of some of its low-level waste in landfill sites in Derbyshire and there are fears that some of this waste may now be sent to new incineration plants near Derby

The month of February smashed a century of global temperature records and scientists, usually wary of highlighting a single month’s figures, label this a ‘shocker’ and warn of a ‘climate emergency’. It is more than time we stopped creating ever more environmentally damaging waste from the nuclear industry, which is neither ‘green’ nor sustainable.

Campaign Update
November 2015

The UK has accumulated around 4.5 cubic metre of nuclear waste – enough to fill Wembly stadium four times over – since the development of nuclear facilities began after the Second World War. Most of this waste is currently stored at surface level in vaults and buildings on the Sellafield site and the fabric of the storage facilities is now in a state of potentially catastrophic decay.

The search is on for a disposal site for the most highly active 10% of the waste that cannot be reused or managed at the surface, because even when the waste is re-packaged it will remain highly toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. The only currently envisaged solution to this problem is for deep geological disposal. Finding a site that is geologically suitable to bury the storage units up to 1km underground is highly problematic.

Although experts say it could take up to 35 years to select and construct a waste disposal site, the government is keen to demonstrate some progress in order to increase public support for a new generation of heavily subsidised reactors. It is estimated that the lifetime cost of disposing of the radioactive waste accumulated to date will cost the taxpayer around £12bn, with £4bn estimated to be spent before the waste can be buried.

Radioactive Waste Management, the government-owned company tasked to deliver the geological disposal unit, should have launched a public information campaign on the issue in September, with the screening process to identify the most suitable areas in the UK completed by 2017. The decades long search for a disposal site in the UK stalled in 2013 when Cumbria’s County Council voted against such a proposal, in spite of the government offering local communities willing to consider the option up to £40m.

But in April this year, in legislation passed in the final hours before parliament was disbanded for the election, the government got round such local opposition by redefining radioactive waste sites as ‘nationally significant infrastructure’ on which central government has the final say.         
Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
August 2015

The problem of what to do with the growing toxic legacy from both our civilian and military uses of nuclear energy is not confined to those states or continents directly involved in their construction – it is a global threat.

In the Pacific, on Runit Island, a vast concrete structure covers 84,000 cubic metres of radioactive debris, including plutonium-239 with a half-life of 24,000 years, left behind after 12 years of US nuclear tests on Bikini & Enewatak in the 1940s and 50s. Constructed in 1979, sections of the concrete have begun to crack and underground radioactive waste has started to leach out. Now scientists and environmentalists fear the effects of climate change could tear the concrete mantle wide open, releasing its contents into the sea.

Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin centre for climate change law at Columbia University says: “Runit represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change. It has been gradually submerged as a result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions”.

The people of the Marshall Islands have lost their livelihoods and fear for the future. They have neither the skills nor resources to begin to tackle the problem. They look to the US for recompense, but the US has never formally apologised for turning their atolls into an atomic testing ground, or for the legacy it left behind.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
June 2015

The decommissioning of one of UK’s most significant nuclear power stations has run into serious problems following complaints from workers of increasing numbers of injuries and the quality of new protective suits and other safety equipment. Last year a fire at the Dounreay plant in Scotland resulted in a serious radioactive leak and it is claimed that pressure from the private-sector consortium led by Cavendish Nuclear is at the expense of ‘safe processes & practices on health, safety and welfare’ Following the problems reported about the decommissioning and clean up of Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria there are growing concerns around the UK’s multi-billion pound nuclear clean-up industry.

Concerns have also been raised by environmentalists and atomic power experts at the way waste is being stored at Europe’s largest nuclear power station in war-torn Ukraine. More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are kept inside metal casks encased in concrete containers in an open yard close to the perimeter fence at Zaporizhia, which is 124 miles away from the front line at Donbass.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
March 2015

In January it was reported that the private consortium, Nuclear Management Partners, were set to lose the multibillion pound contract to clean up Sellafield nuclear waste plant. The consortium of US engineering group URS, British firm Amec and French energy company Areva has run the site in Cumbria for more than six years, and was granted a five year extension in 2013 despite widespread criticism of its performance. The clean-up costs have risen by £6billion amid accusations of illegitimate charges, prompting Chris Leslie, MP, to talk of ‘extraordinary waste’ and ‘rewards for failure’ and the GMB Union to claim: “hundreds of millions of pounds of tax-payers money have been squandered on this contract”.

The criticisms about the performance at Sellafield is echoed in US experience. Since 2008 URS has also been cleaning up Hanford, the vast nuclear complex in Washington State, where two whistle-blowers are pursuing claims for unfair dismissal following revelations of safety breaches and where it has been accused of overbilling and missing deadlines.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
October 2014

In September it was reported that the cost of cleaning up Britain’s toxic nuclear sites has shot up by £6bn, with the Government and regulators accused of ‘incompetence’ in their efforts to manage the country’s legacy of radioactive waste. The estimated cost for decommissioning over the next century went up from £63.8bn estimate in 2011-12 to £69.8bn in 2012-13 mostly because of the troubled clean-up of the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria, one of the world’s most hazardous and fiendishly complicated decontamination sites.

It is not just our nuclear power plants which pose the problem of where and how to dispose of our nuclear waste. The MoD is launching a public consultation this autumn to identify a location for the storage of radioactive waste from the Royal Navy’s out-of-service nuclear submarines which are to be dismantled at the Devonport and Rosyth naval dockyards and stored on an interim basis until the UK’s planned Geological Disposal Facility has opened. Provisionally 5 sites (AWE Aldermaston & Burghfield; Chapelcross,Dumfrieshire; Sellafield; Capenhurst in Cheshire) are proposed. The waste will be contained in the submarine Reactor Pressure Vessel and transported by road to the storage site. See www.nukewatch.org.uk for more information about the secret military convoys carrying nuclear materials on our roads.

After the last disastrous attempt to bribe or threaten Local Authorities to accept a radioactive waste Deep Geological Disposal Facility in their locality the Government said that before inviting communities to come forward a number of “initial actions” would be undertaken. On the 29 September the Office for Nuclear Development within the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced a new programme of national geological screening to be carried out on Government’s behalf by Radioactive Waste Management Ltd. (RWM).  As a first step in this process, RWM is planning a series of public engagement events, open to all, which will both explain the process and its intended outcomes and, more importantly, seek relevant inputs from interested parties.
The OND has issued an invitation to anyone interested in the issues surrounding the disposal of radioactive waste to contact RWM indicating your interest in participating in one of these initial public events. Contact RWM directly at rwmfeedback@nda.gov.uk by Monday 6 October.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
July 2014

Two new radioactive waste facilities have opened in the UK. The first two vaults for the disposal of
low-level waste have been completed at Dounreay, while the first intermediate-level waste (ILW) has been put into a new interim storage facility at Berkeley. However this takes us no nearer to finding a solution for the mounting problem of high-level waste, which is currently being transferred to the dangerously decaying facility at Sellafield.

According to a study by the influential Nuclear Threat Initiative the UK scores poorly among nuclear-capable states for the security of its nuclear infra-structure, the quantities of nuclear materials it holds and transportation between sites.

An Environment Agency document suggests that it was mistake to site the Drigg low-level waste repository on the Cumbrian coast because it is almost certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and contaminate the area with large amounts of nuclear waste. Although Drigg was meant for low-level waste, there are fears that some past disposals included higher-level waste. EA officials are considering allowing the companies that run Drigg to dispose of a further 800,000 cubic metres of waste there over the next 100 years, including radioactive debris from nuclear power stations, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons, as well as hospitals and universities. Environmentalists say continuing use of the site is ‘unethical, unsustainable and highly dangerous.’
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Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
April 2014

The final decision about a site for the Deep Geological Disposal Facility to store higher activity nuclear waste had to be postponed when Cumbria County Council rejected the idea. The Office for Nuclear Development isn’t going to leave it there. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) will be hosting a free public event on Wednesday 30 April in Workington to explain what they are doing and answer questions. A consultation report was published in March setting out proposals which would allow the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to manage, by means of interim storage and disposal, any small quantities of overseas origin oxide fuels that cannot be reprocessed or are not economic to reprocess in the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) at Sellafield before it closes in 2018. This approach would permit the NDA to close out the remaining overseas contracts in a cost-effective and timely way, providing more certainty over the future plans for THORP and for the future decommissioning of the Dounreay licensed site. You can see the consultation here.

Meanwhile it was reported on the 6 April that the costs of clearing up four decades of nuclear waste at Dounreay in the Highlands has risen by an extra £200m, after major changes were made only two years into a 10 year contract. Babcock International say this is because ‘more security enhancements’ are needed and the extra transportation costs as the fuel on site is now being transferred to Sellafield in Cumbria!

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
February 2014

Damning criticism of the Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), the private sector consortium which manages the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria, have been made by the Nuclear Decommisioning Authority. Sellafield is regarded as the most dangerous and polluted industrial site in Western Europe, not least because it houses 120 tonnes of plutonium, the largest civilian stockpile in the world. The Public Accounts Committee were shocked when the NDA offered the NMP a further 5 year contract in spite of the bill to clean up the site soaring to over £70 billion.
On 31 January Sellafield had to be partially closed and workers told to stay at home because of a spike in radiation at the plant; and legal changes to be introduced this year mean that the operators could be sued for billions of pounds by the Irish Government.

The final decision about a site for the Deep Geological Repository has been postponed as Cumbria County Council rejected the idea. If a site is agreed, it will take about 120 years to construct and begin to use it for intermediate and high level nuclear waste. Meanwhile this remains at the reactor sites. It is precisely the on-site storage of nuclear waste at the  Fukushima plant that makes it so difficult to bring the catastrophe under control.

New nuclear reactors are designed to use higher burn and will produce different kinds of waste. The reactions of these with the old “legacy” waste is unknown. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has responsibility for investigating the safety of generic designs submitted by companies. These decisions are taken within the EU Regulations on Stress Tests for nuclear sites, set up after the Fukushima disaster. Even the Head of Japan’s TEPCO now has severe reservations about the safety of nuclear power. The scope of the plans does not seem geographically wide enough, given the likely plume of fall out and will require cross-authority planning and well-coordinated exercises. Public health issues or radiation do not seem to be fully understood by local health providers, just as in Japan.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: The NDA has suffered severe cuts to its budget. This resulted in the sale of land at several licensed sites to EDF and other offshore multi-national nuclear power provider companies.  There have been several re-structures and three changes of CEO. There are concerns about lack of knowledge, continuity and expertise as the workforce is sub-contracted. The lack of adequate clean-up finance means that NDA have to concentrate most of their efforts on Sellafield and Dounreay sites.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
Novtember 2013

Chernobyl & Fukushima – everlasting reminders that we are no nearer finding a solution to the toxic problems of nuclear waste than we were when we first contemplated using the power of the nuclear reaction for weapons and for energy.

But in Chernobyl the reactor which triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident is still unstable 27 years later. And now a new catastrophe threatens in the ruins of reactor no.4, as the covering over tons of radioactive fuel and dust still buried there starts to collapse. The solution - a £1.5 bn metal shell, paid for by the G8 nations – is nearly a decade behind schedule, has not yet reached the halfway stage, and there are growing doubts about when it will finally be completed. And even when it is completed there are no plans to permanently dispose of the radioactive material inside the reactor, no money and no nuclear waste dump, so, even when the arch is completed, Chernobyl remains a nuclear headache.

In Fukushima there are even more immediate threats, as the cooling systems were knocked out during the disaster, and water pumped in to cool the reactors is leaking from the tanks to contaminate groundwater flowing into the sea. Radiation from the Fukushima plant has been detected in Northern Alaska and the West coast of America. The plant’s operator, Tepco, is trying to extract 400 tons worth of spent fuel rods stored in a pool at reactor no.4 in the heavily radio-actively contaminated environment. This has never been attempted before and a mishandled rod could go critical, resulting in above ground meltdown with no way to stop the radioactive fallout. However leaving things as they are is not an option, because the statistical risk of a similarly bad outcome (from for example, another earthquake) increases every day.

Nearly 100,000 people are still unable to return to their homes because of high levels of radiation. The Japanese people no longer trust what Tepco tells them.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
September 2013

A government report, released under the Freedom of Information Act, admits that the Sellafield Mixed Oxide plant that was closed down two years ago lost £2.2bn, instead of making the promised profit. The report says it was ‘not fit for purpose’ and its performance had been ‘very poor’. The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have both criticised delays and cost overruns at Sellafield. It has just been fined £700,000 after ‘significant management and operational failings’, led to radioactive waste being sent to a landfill site. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is reviewing whether to renew the contract with the consortium responsible for cleaning up Sellafield, Nuclear Management Partners. Decommissioning is expected to cost more than £67bn over the next century.
Ask your MP to sign  Early Day EDM 397:
That this House believes that proposals to build a second mixed oxide (MOX) plant at Sellafield at a cost of up to £5 billion of taxpayers' money would be an outrageous waste of money following the lamentable failure of the first MOX plant, which had an efficiency of less than seven per cent; is convinced that continued reprocessing at Sellafield is environmentally hazardous, unnecessary and economically unsustainable; notes the continued and unremitting cost escalations at Sellafield, now running to over £70 billion and rising; and calls on the Government to replace the nuclear management partners with a competent management team, and to bring the proposed new contract for Sellafield management before Parliament for scrutiny before finalising the deal.

In May the Government sought evidence (deadline for comments10 June 2013) on the site selection process within the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme, following the “lessons learned” from the West Cumbrian rejection of their proposals. They added: “Following our analysis of the responses to the consultation, we intend to re-launch the GDF site selection process in 2014. We are of course happy to discuss with interested parties any aspects of the wider MRWS programme, and how the current consultation proposals would sit within the wider policy framework. Kind regards - Office for Nuclear Development”. Be wary! In July they were using the same technique to bribe Local Authorities to accept New Build Nuclear Power Stations as the discredited effort in Cumbria.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
June 2013

The Government has announced a call for evidence on the site selection process within the UK’s ongoing Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme. This follows the “lessons learned” exercise undertaken since the conclusion of west Cumbrian involvement in the existing site selection process, and will inform a consultation later this year.  

How you think the site selection process for a geological disposal facility, outlined in the 2008 White Paper, should be improved? Further information on how to respond can be found at here. Please send your comments or queries to: radioactivewaste@decc.gsi.gov.uk  by Monday 10 June 2013 BUT have a look at the report below first!

In spite of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the newly elected conservative government in Japan is pushing ahead with the nuclear industry as well as the nuclear waste reprocessing plant at Rokkasho - even though it is 15 years behind schedule and has cost $29 billion so far. But they admit the plant doesn’t work, they would have to return the 3 thousand tons of waste already sent there, and there is no room back at the plants that created the waste as their spent fuel ponds are already mostly full.

And many of the local areas containing these plants would refuse to accept the waste back. Rokkasho local area government only accepted the waste on the condition that it would be reprocessed and then stored in a safe geological site, yet they have to admit there is no safe geological site in an earthquake zone country like Japan. Now they find Rokkasho has an active fault under it that could produce an earthquake magnitude 8 at any moment.

Meanwhile worldwide the stack of deadly waste fuel rises by 12,000 tons a year. It is strange that a country with so much respect for its ancestors can show little respect for its descendents, or future generations, by leaving thousands of tons of lethal waste that they must guard for thousands of years, so that this generation can line its corridors with vending machines, or run air conditioning.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
April 2013

Back in 2011 the world looked on aghast as emergency teams struggled to shut down Japan's three troubled nuclear reactors at Fukushima. International experts were already warning that the real threat came from the vast quantities of used fuel stored in enormous cooling ponds on site.

Globally such radioactive waste ponds are common and therefore vulnerable to freak accidents. Most - though not all - nuclear reactors worldwide need to let their used fuel cool for at least five years before they do anything with it; many for much longer.
Even if the waste is subsequently reprocessed - which itself creates radioactive waste - the plutonium retrieved has to be guarded because of its attractiveness to nuclear bomb-makers.

The IAEA estimates that by 2020 the total amount of spent nuclear fuel worldwide will have reached 440,000 tonnes and three-quarters of it will be in storage, often at the reactor sites, and requiring monitoring, safeguarding and protection. There are more than 430 reactors worldwide but so far no country has developed a long-term underground disposal facility to house the deadly waste for the millennia to come. It appears as if much of the world's nuclear waste will remain on or near the surface and vulnerable to unforeseen calamities.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
January 2013

1. The battle at KINGS CLIFFE.

It is 3 years since Augean’s proposal to dump low-level radioactive waste in the Kings Cliffe land fill site was first turned  down by Northants County Council, followed by an appeal from Augean, a Public Enquiry and a decision to go ahead by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, then an application to extend the site and a ruling that the project was one of national significance  and so subject to the new National Planning process which further curbs the voice of local people and their elected Councillors (nearly all the Local Authorities and more than 90% of villagers have expressed opposition to nuclearisation of the site – see  www.kingscliffewastewatchers.co.uk )
Richard Johnson, EMCND Chair, has been to four of these hearings to oppose these dangerous proposals. On 6 December 2012 he gave evidence to the National Infrastructure Planning Process on East Northants Resource Management Facility  (ie Kings Cliffe landfill), also submitting  a background paper (‘Why do Scientists Differ so much on Radiation Risk’)
He comments of the Open Forum meeting at the end of process:
“The formidable presence of the company at this penultimate session (lawyers, consultants, two staffed tables and piles of documentation) was interesting and was matched by the privilege accorded to its spokespersons in having the final word. Visibly represented in the hall were the power imbalances between the company and the villagers who are directly affected by their project.
Two points arose in relation to my own submission: first, its representative status in relation to CND; and second the future arrangements for long-term remediation and monitoring at the site which I had questioned. Having taken care to qualify my status honestly because the picture is complicated, it needed to be clarified since it was made a debating point in the final summing up by the company.
A key point in my submission was the mismatch between the time scale of management and monitoring envisaged by the company (60 years plus a possible additional period to be specified by the Environment Agency) and the geological-scale half-life of particular radionuclides (which the Agency permits to be included in Kings Cliffe landfill). The company responded by reiterating what is already said in the documentation about the measures to be taken at the end of active management of the site, including the return of the land to agricultural use and the building of houses upon it.  Because of the longevity and highly toxic nature of some of the permitted radionuclides this does mean that food may be grown, work may be undertaken, and people may live on contaminated land.  This eventuality also concerned the Environmental Agency, which made an 18-fold adjustment to the amount of radioactivity that could be mixed with soil at the end of the process. 
According to the existing regulatory agreement, consigners of waste to the Kings Cliffe site must specify the composition of waste in terms of radionuclides. The Company must check this and may send back consignments that do not conform. In other words the agreed regulative framework provides precise data on the material stored. I argued that this should be made available to local people, including their representative bodies. In this way, not only could greater transparency be achieved, but some measure of accountability of the company to its local population also.  Paper agreements are one thing; actual practices another. Most accidents occur through a combination of design failures and human errors, plus often unpredicted natural events. The company assured us that risk estimates took account of increased precipitation due to climate change. Presumably they will now take account of the exceptional weather of 2013?
No response to these suggestions was made  at the open hearing, though the suggestions were made in a genuine spirit of compromise, without gainsaying our general and serious concerns about the whole project.
The company attempted in its final statements to marginalise real diversity among scientists by identifying ‘mainstream’ with the findings of regulatory bodies. Actually there are many peer-reviewed, highly respected, well-published scientists who have criticisms (of different kinds) of existing regulative criteria.” 
Richard Johnson  3 January 2013

2.  CUMBRIA – is this the place to bury high-level  radioactive waste?

On the 30th January three Cumbrian Councils  will be deciding if they should plan to go forward to the next stage of potentially hosting a deep-underground radioactive waste repository. This follows a three month postponement of the decision for further internal discussion and talks with the UK Government. The three Councils established the ‘West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely’ (MRWS) Partnership to consider if it should formally express an interest in hosting such a repository, as part of the Government’s  ‘volunteerism’ process. No other Councils in the UK have taken up this request .
In its response to the MRWS consultation, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) gave its policy view as to whether the three Cumbrian Councils should go forward with the next stage, which would begin to formalise the expression of interest and start a process of investigating potential suitable sites. The NLFA said  that it will be impossible to demonstrate with any scientific credibility that the resultant radiation dose to people from a nuclear waste repository would be at an acceptably low level into the far distant future; more research is required on uncertainties associated with deep geological “disposal” as well as robust interim storage before proceeding to a site selection process; if voluntarism is to mean anything, local communities must be given the right to withdraw from the process at any time up to the start of construction. Local Authorities must not be allowed to override local wishes.
The NFLA agrees with the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) that a new nuclear programme raises different political and ethical issues when compared with the consideration of legacy wastes. CoRWM said new wastes should be subject to a separate public assessment process. By going ahead to the next stage of the process before the generation of new wastes has been given adequate consideration Cumbrian authorities will be being complicit in depriving other authorities (for example those on waste transport routes) of a proper say on the future of UK energy policy.
The NFLA view is that there should be a national debate about what constitutes suitable geology and how to find it before Cumbrian authorities proceed to the next stage. We should not allow the voluntarist approach to override the idea of finding the safest possible method to manage these dangerous wastes.The delay in the process has led to a dramatic escalation in opposition to the proposals, including the Lake District National Parks Authority, Cumbria Tourism and many thousand signatories to local petitions. To read more and sign the petition "No Nuclear Dump in the Lake District"

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
November 2012

SELLAFIELD – a nuclear waste hazard
In a report published this month the National Audit Office (NAO) has said an "intolerable risk" is being posed by hazardous waste stored in run-down buildings at Sellafield nuclear plant, and that for 50 years, the operators of the Cumbria installation failed to develop a long-term plan for waste. Moreover the costs of plant-decommissioning have also spiralled out of control.

The plant is the UK's largest and most hazardous nuclear site, storing enough high and intermediate level radioactive waste to fill 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The NAO report states however, that owners of the station do not know how long it will take to build storage and treatment centres for the hazardous material or how much the final bill for decommissioning the plant is likely to be. The NAO report concluded that progress in 12 of the 14 major buildings and equipment projects considered "critical" for reducing risk, which range in cost from £21m to £1.3bn, also failed to achieve what they were supposed to and had not provided good value for money.

A long-term plan to clean up the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority-owned site, was agreed last year after an earlier one stalled because it was "unrealistic".

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the public accounts committee, said: "Projects of this length and ambition are ripe for dithering and delay. I am dismayed to discover the clean-up of Sellafield is no different. The authority's revised plan sees critical milestones shunted back by up to seven years. Hazardous radioactive waste is housed in buildings which pose 'intolerable risks to people and the environment. My concern is that unless the authority holds Sellafield Ltd to a clear and rigorously benchmarked plan, timetables will continue to slip and costs spiral."

Dr Ruth Balogh, of West Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, said: "The UK's failure to deal with highly hazardous nuclear waste at Sellafield is a national scandal that poses a significant risk to local people and the environment. The government has completely ignored the urgent need for interim measures to deal with this radioactive waste. We shouldn't build any new nuclear reactors if we can't deal with the radioactive mess that's already been created."

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
September 2012

In its rush to rescue the economy from recession the Government is recklessly pursuing an energy policy that will do nothing to save us from the impacts of climate change. Under the influence of powerful multi-national corporations and a blind economic orthodoxy that dictates industry must be freed from regulation, it is trashing Planning safeguards and ignoring scientific and historic evidence of the potential for a disaster of unimaginable proportions for the planet. EMCND has submitted the following resolution for consideration at CND National Conference & AGM on 14 October:

Conference notes that:

  1. more than half a century after the first commercial nuclear power plants became operational there is still no solution to the problem of final disposal of high-level radio-active waste;
  2. while waste management programmes in all countries state this generation must itself resolve the problem, these same programmes continually postpone a decision on final disposal and/or reprocessing into the future;
  3. technical problems of designing suitable containment systems are complicated by socio-political difficulties identifying appropriate, secure sites;
  4. Government insistence on pursuing nuclear new-build as a component of its energy policy compounds the problem of disposal of legacy waste;
  5. liability for failure to provide safe disposal of radioactive waste and consequent environmental damage will fall on subsequent generations not existing producers and represents another subsidy to the nuclear industry.

Conference is concerned that:

  1. proposals for long-term management of radio-active waste pay insufficient attention to scientific uncertainties, technical feasibility and political, economic and sociological factors.
  2. financial inducements rather than scientific suitability is being used to identify repository sites, raising safety and ethical concerns about dumping foreign waste on the poorest peoples.
  3. in the UK unsuitable, ad hoc proposals for the disposal of low-level and intermediate level waste from both civil and military nuclear enterprises are being forced on local communities through manipulations of the planning process;
  4. consultations planned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Office for Nuclear Development will be restricted in scope and heavily dominated by vested interests as in the past.

Conference resolves to:

  1. oppose nuclear new-build, unsafe transport and dumping of nuclear waste.
  2. call on the government to cancel all plans for a programme of new nuclear power stations in the UK
  3. highlight unresolved scientific, technical and economic issues and urge adequate investment in seeking solutions to the problems of radio-active waste management.
  4. demand public consultations be open, transparent, independent, and include the full range of scientific, economic and political opinion.
  5. press government, the nuclear industry and the public to accept responsibility now for potential costs to future generations and to safeguard the environment
Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
July 2012

EMCND Convenor is registered to present the case against expansion of the Kings Cliffe waste disposal plant at the planning meeting, arguing that the engineering solutions proposed by Augean are inadequate for the safe storage of the very long-lived radioactive elements that may be dumped there. After a phase of direct action the Northant’s villagers are concentrating on the next legal round against the company’s ambitious plan. See www.kingscliffewastewatchers.co.uk

Prof Neil Hyatt of Sheffield University will be giving a seminar on ‘Radioactive Waste - What is it? What do we do with it?’ on Thursday 5 July 2012, from 6-7.30pm  at The Department of Materials Science, in the Robert Hadfield Building, just off Portobello Street. Directions can be found at www.shef.ac.uk/materials/about/visitors. This is an open meeting arranged By David Garlovsky and anyone interested should contact him on david@solar-active.com

The issue of radioactive waste disposal is profoundly important and a truly robust solution essential for the welfare of future generations.The following plea is from residents of Cumbria:
“The world is being told that the UK has a solution to the nuclear waste problem.The latest proposal is to bury hot radioactive waste in Lakeland's leaky geology in a hole(s) 1000m deep by 25km square.This is called Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely and there is a timetable for first burial of waste deep under Lakeland by 2029.

The world is being told that a telephone poll shows Cumbrians are willing volunteers for this "solution" to the nuclear waste problem. A majority of Cumbrian Parish and Town Councils have voted NO to the Dump. Please sign the petition against nuclear waste dump in Cumbria www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-lakeland-no-nukiller-dump/
from Marianne, Radiation Free Lakeland”

Nuclear Monitor report on world status of radioactive waste disposal
‘Taking into account the results already achieved, the expected technological developments in the coming years, and above all the existence of a well-established basis for the assessment in numerical terms of radiation hazards, the group are convinced that the optimum development of nuclear energy need not be impeded by radioactive waste management problems which will have to be dealt with’. This quote is from the OECD report ‘Radioactive waste management practices in Western Europe’ - not from the most recent report, although the wording would be the same, but from a report in 1972!

Since the beginning of nuclear power the major claim is that there will be a solution for nuclear waste soon,that the waste problem really is not a technical problem but a social problem, but, anyway, we are near a solution. So there is no reason to stop producing it or endanger the future of nuclear energy.

But as the authors of a newly published worldwide overview show, none of the roughly 34 countries with spent fuel (reprocessed or not) from nuclear power reactors have a final disposal facility, be it in deep geological formations or (near) surface. A very large majority of those countries are not even close. Some postpone the need for final disposal by long term interim storage of up to 100 years; and other countries use (the future option of) reprocessing as an alibi for postponing that decision.

As this worldwide overview of the state of affairs shows, siting radioactive waste repositories is seen as one of the main problems due to socio-political circumstances. Almost without exception all radioactive waste management programs state that this generation must solve its own problems and not lay the burden of solving the waste problem on the next generations. But those same programs propose, again almost without exception, to postpone a decision on final disposal and/or reprocessing into the far-future, and consider interim storage.
Fact is that the problem of final disposal of high level radioactive waste and/or spent fuel has not been solved, more than half a century after the first commercial nuclear power plants entered into operation and used fuel was unloaded from the reactors.

To read the full report ‘Management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. A worldwide overview’, published by Nuclear Monitor

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
May 2012

The Government began consultations on the amendment of the Nuclear Waste and Decommissioning (Finance and Fees) Regulations 2011 on 27 April 2012. Click here for consultation. There will be a consultation event on the amendment of the Nuclear Waste and Decommissioning (Finance and Fees) Regulations 2011 on Monday 14 May starting at 10am at BIS Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET As part of the consultations we will present an overview of the proposals and discuss the questions raised in the consultation. The event is an opportunity to put across, direct to Government, your views on the amendments to the Regulations. The events form part of the consultation and the discussions will be recorded as an input to the consultation which closes on 8 June 2012

If you wish to attend the event, please reply to wasteanddecommissioningteam@decc.gsi.gov.uk by 8 May 2012. If you will be representing an organisation, please state the name of the organisation in your reply.
The Office for Nuclear Development

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
December 2011

Radioactive waste comes from both the civil and defence fuel cycle as well as industry, research, medicine and the home. Very low level waste from the latter can be disposed of in land fill sites but the waste from nuclear reactors is dissolved and then separated into components at ThORP reprocessing plant into low level. Low level waste is disposed of at Drigg; intermediate level is stored on site in a specially engineered facility (which proved a significant factor in the Fukushima disaster); and high level waste is stored at Sellafield in a specially engineered facility.

One of the products of the process at ThORP is mixed oxide fuel - MOX (a mix of Plutonium and Uranium). MOX fuel is an alternative to the low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel used in the light-water reactors that predominate nuclear power generation. To make use of this product a new MOX plant must be built (the Government recently decided to close the existing plant as unsafe and uneconomic but is considering reversing that decision) and to build new nuclear reactors. One attraction of MOX fuel is that it is a way of utilizing surplus weapons-grade plutonium, which would otherwise be stored as nuclear waste and might be stolen to make nuclear weapons. On the other hand, some fear that normalising the global commercial use of MOX fuel and the associated expansion of nuclear reprocessing will increase, rather than reduce, the risk of nuclear proliferation. See Campaigns: Nuclear Power .

Of the remaining waste, some is fission products (high level waste) and some is "hulls", the broken down storage rods (intermediate level waste). Neither of these can be used as fuel. The definition of high level waste is that it needs constant cooling and so far that is how the fission products are being stored at the moment. There are various proposals for vitrifying it to drastically reduce its chemical activity and creating "multibarrier" containment, including burial. None of this has been achieved in practice anywhere in the world, to date.

Meanwhile, in Cumbria, millions of gallons of water are already abstracted daily from Wastwater to cool the wastes at Sellafield so that it has become necessary to consider plans for a desalination plant on the West coast to enable a secure supply of freshwater for Sellafield wastes and proposed new build. Cumbria is the wettest place in England but can’t meet the demands of the nuclear industry! Desalination is an expensive, energy intensive and greenhouse-gas emitting way to get water. See Forthcoming Events.

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste
June 2011

We are bequeathing a lethal legacy of radioactive waste on future generations. Already we have exhausted the capacity of existing depositories for so-called ‘low-level’ waste and the Government is giving permission for the  landfill sites to be used,  against local wishes. The more serious problem is what to do with high level waste and so far there is no answer. Building waste stores that will have to last many life times longer than the current time-span of humanity is a fraught task. The award winning, beautifully made and thought-provoking documentary, ‘Into Eternity’, will be shown at East Midlands CND’s AGM on Saturday 1 October at 2pm  at Unitarian Great Meeting Chapel, 45 East Bond St., Leicester, LE1 4SX. Everyone welcome

Meanwhile, in Devonport, the Government is wondering what to do with the rusting hulks of our nuclear submarines in the dockyard there. They are proposing to build an incinerator above the dockyards with the concomitant risks of accident and the release of toxic fumes. There will be a demonstration on Saturday 10 September – contact:  www.iiw.org.uk for more information.

The only purpose-built ‘low level waste’ depository at Drigg in Cumbria is rapidly filling up. In 2010 the Government decided to revise regulations to allow more flexibility in how certain categories of waste are disposed of. It is expected that the permit for 250.000 tonnes per year at the Kings Cliffe site will be used in the decommissioning of the former Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Oxfordshire and also for other decommissioning schemes across the South of England and the Midlands which could include nuclear waste materials from Rolls Royce Marine. The Environment
Agency has also given permission for nuclear dumping at Lillyhall near Workington, despite Cumbrian County and Local Council objections.  

Campaign Update - Nuclear Waste / Kings Cliffe campaign
June 2011

A compounding factor in the disaster at Fukushima was the quantity of spent fuel rods stored on site, but as yet no one has been able to find a safe and secure way to dispose of the enormous amount of radioactive material emanating from the nuclear industry.

 Britain’s only purpose-built low-level waste depositary at Drigg in Cumbria is rapidly filling up and last year the Government changed the law to allow traditional land-fill sites to be used in some circumstances. Augean, a company with no prior experience of handling nuclear waste and which has been fined by the Environment Agency for past breaches of regulations, sought planning permission to dump 250,000 tonnes a year of nuclear waste in a traditional landfill site at King’s Cliffe near Peterborough. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has overruled all the objections of local residents, the local authority which had turned down the application, the local Conservative MP and the evidence of expert witnesses at the Planning Enquiry. It sits oddly for a government proclaiming its commitment to localism that a referendum showing 96% of local residents opposed to the application is ignored.

The decision could have implications in other areas where landfill is needed to deal with the large volumes of low-level waste from the UK’s atomic industry. Last month the Environment Agency granted a permit to dispose of radioactive waste from Sellafield at the Lillyhall landfill site. Northamptonshire County Council refused permission to transport the waste by road from Harwell in Oxfordshire, but was similarly overruled. This is a growing issue. The government desperately needs a solution to the high-level waste stored at plants around the country.

Our current rad-waste liability has gone from £50 billion in the mid 2000s to £70 – 80 billion and rising. Add to this the £10+ billion liability for British Energy’s plants, which are now owned by EDF, and their decommissioning liability which still falls on the public purse.

April 2011

The formal decision from Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government about whether the company Augean will be permitted to receive large amounts of low level nuclear waste at its minimally engineered landfill site near the village of Kings Cliffe in Northants is expected in May, but word is that Pickles  ‘is minded to grant approval’.

Following up on its evidence to the Public Enquiry, East Midlands CND attempted to draw the Inspector’s attention to the shocking safety record of the Company at its waste treatment plant in Cannock, where a long series of fires, explosions and other infringements have occurred since 2007.  In the meantime, Augean has actually received  ‘very low level’ nuclear waste from the Olympic site without informing local people at the nearby Thornhaugh site. It has also given notice of a new application to extend the life of the site and its extent. So now it is clear that local fears of a major nuclear installation are justified and this may be imposed without local consent.

In a nicely judged response, in addition to Waste Watchers, the main campaigning organisation, a new organisation called ‘Local Democracy in Action’ has been formed, including many local Councillors, with the aim of holding referenda on the nuclear dumping in all local communities, as encouraged by Pickles in his own Localism Bill. See: www.kingscliffewastewatchers.co.uk                                                                                                                 

December 2010

Whatever your views on nuclear power, there’s no evading the nuclear waste problem. Large amounts of  contaminated material are   produced from decommissioning old nuclear power stations, from medical procedures, from making nuclear weapons and engines, from scrapping nuclear submarines, and from nuclear research centres like Harwell.. Sellafield, once ‘the solution’, is now itself a huge decommissioning problem, with many waste streams trapped in temporary storage, some aborted plants (e.g. for vitrification and reprocessing) and the legacies of accidents (e.g. Windscale). The problem of  both ‘high’ and ‘low’ level radioactive waste disposal is now a critical argument in the current dash for nuclear power. There is still no answer to the problem after 50 years, but a growing body of research shows that the health risks are real, significant and demonstrable.

On the anti-nuclear side we can’t argue that the stuff shouldn’t exist, though we can say ‘don’t produce any more’. It’s one potent argument against nuclear revival. Government and the industry want to split off  the waste problem from the adventure of new power stations.  The facility at Drigg for ‘low level’ waste storage is now full and recently the Government has given the go-ahead to use land fill sites. 

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was created to dispense public money to private consortia for decommissioning and waste storage, in effect a huge public subsidy. But the NDA’s problem is massive because little progress has been made with long-term storage of high-level wastes like old reactor cores and the space left for lower level waste in the depository at Drigg (also Cumbria) is already accounted for. A company called Augean is the first to apply to use a site at Kings Cliffe in Northamptonshire for waste from decommissioning old power stations, including waste from Rolls Royce Raynesway. This is the context of the ongoing struggle at Kings Cliffe in Northants. Here a broadly based popular movement is opposing the company Augean which wants to use its existing hazardous waste landfill site, with a minimum of re-engineering and monitoring, for receiving large amounts of decommissioning waste from all over the country. The region which includes Peterborough, Oundle, Corby and Stamford as well as the villages at the centre, has no nuclear installations of its own, yet faces a future as a nuclear dump second only to West Cumbria’s. Kings Cliffe Waste Watchers continue to fight a bonny popular campaign to stop this happening. CND locally is supporting them. The campaigners won the first round as the Local authority refused permission but that was of course appealed against by the company.    

On Tuesday 26 October we attended the first session of Augean’s appeal against Northants County Council’s refusal of permission. Since then the Planning Officer  has heard submissions from the firm, the local authority, experts and campaigners, including the Chair of East Midlands CND. We will report on the course of this nationally important struggle. If anyone wishes to attend the hearings in Corby, or meet the Kings Cliffe activists please contact Richard Johnson 0116  225 0133 or google Kings Cliffe Waste Watchers for links and information.

Contact EMCND

 
 

 

 
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