top of page

GDF's HEROES - Targeted at Children - a Complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority

In 2003 The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that BNFL - now the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority could not "make an absolute claim" about the future of nuclear waste at Sellafield and the advert showing a butterfly flying away from a hand, with the headline "The future of the environment is in safe hands" was ordered to be removed.

Now in 2022 , Nuclear Waste Services, a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has formed partnerships of Nuclear Waste Services and "the local community" called GDF Community Partnerships (three in Cumbria and one in Lincolnshire). GDF Partnership literature has been produced to promote support in communities for a Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes.

All advertising literature published under the tagline "Working in Partnership" states : "Doing the right thing for future generations. Geological disposal is one of the UK’s largest ever environmental protection projects, which will provide a safe and secure long-term solution for the disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. This programme will create investment and jobs over many generations."

This flies in the face of the 2003 ASA ruling that no absolute claims can be made for the future safety of nuclear waste.

Complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency:

"GDF's Heroes" Advertorial Literature Targeted at Children

While all the GDF Partnership advertising aimed at adults makes absolute claims which as the ASA previously ruled cannot be backed up (unless the GDF Partnership have a fail safe crystal ball), our primary complaint is the literature aimed at children. In particular a promotional colouring book aimed at children called "GDF's Heroes".

Colourful Nuclear Dump “feel good” books are targeted at children to advertise Geological Disposal.

The Community Partnerships of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s subsidiary Nuclear Waste Services and Copeland Borough Council have teamed up to produce literature for adults and children to help form the “express consent of the people who would be living alongside a Geological Disposal Facility” Simon Hughes Community Engagement and Siting Director, Nuclear Waste Services.

The children's advertorial books promote the embedding of heat generating nuclear waste deep underground as "safe".

The children’s books and stickers are called “GDF’s HEROES.” The books include colourful characters such as “Radioactive Ray” who says “ Hi, I’m radioactive Ray, and I’m a nice kid. really. I just need a long time to cool off underground!”

Radiation Free Lakeland a volunteer nuclear safety group based in Cumbria have been running an online poll open to everyone and almost 1000 people have responded.

There are two questions, the first: Should the Geological Disposal Facility Partnerships of Copeland Borough Council and Nuclear Waste Services be targeting children with "GDF's Heroes" colouring books?

99% of people replied that “No, children should not be targeted with "GDF's Heroes" colouring books.”

The campaign group say that “the poll is an overwhelming rejection of the GDF feel good propaganda making absolute claims for the safety of GDF which is bad enough when it is aimed at adults but to propagandise children in this way with the notion that hot radioactive waste is a “nice kid” is very nasty indeed. We also wonder at the perverted message to children to be told that even though they are nice , like “Radioactive Ray” they will be buried underground for a long time to “cool off?”

Radiation Free Lakeland are aware that Copeland Borough Councillors apart from the four people on the executive have had no input into either joining the “Community Partnership” or the resulting literature aimed at children. The GDF’s HEROES, however are produced in Copeland Borough Council’s name as part of the “Working in Partnership.”

We hope that the Advertising Standards Authority will be as concerned as we are about the literature and like us will urge the removal of the GDF’s HEROES literature from the Community Partnership’s propaganda tool kit.

more info:

Community Guidance


144 views0 comments


bottom of page