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Is Cumbria Coal Boss Best Person to Advise on UK Nuclear Dump Plan? Crony Capitalism Rules OK.

PRESS NOTICE




Tim Farron MP has delivered a Petition of almost 2000 signatures from campaigners to the Coal Authority and its sponsor the Dept of Energy Security and Net Zero calling for the sacking of the Cumbrian Coal Mine Boss in his role as UK nuclear dump advisor.


The letter from campaigners states : NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL GROUPS SAY 'BLOCK LICENCE TO DRILL' Back in 2021 many national and international groups wrote to your predecessor BEIS Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng urging him to block Mark Kirkbride’s drilling licences from the Coal Authority (see letter below). Those licences have since lapsed and are due for renewal by the Coal Authority which is sponsored by your Department. COAL AUTHORITY AND COMMITTEE ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT BOTH SPONSORED BY DEPT FOR ENERGY & NET ZERO We call on the Secretary of State responsible for both the Coal Authority and for CoRWM to not only block the Cumbria Coal Mine boss’s licence to drill but to sack Mark Kirkbride as one of your key advisors on the nuclear waste plans for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The crony capitalism is blatant with Mark Kirkbride advising government to use the same suppliers for nuclear dump construction as the “preferred suppliers” for his coal mine near Sellafield. Mark Kirkbride has said that costs of GDF construction include "shafts sunk using Herrenknecht shaft boring roadheader machines (Herrenknecht, 2020a).” Herrenknecht are listed on Mark Kirkbride's coal mine supplier list.

Marianne Birkby a well known Cumbrian artist who started the petition and founder of the group Radiation Free Lakeland says: This time last year pollution started pouring out of Whitehaven harbour from old mine workings in this area which is already a honeycomb of historic mines. This should be a red flag for any future deep mining in the area. It is hair raising that UK government have appointed until 2027 a nuclear dump advisor for their Committee on Radioactive Waste Management whose coal mine business interests overlap with the remit of CoRWM and whose coal mine if permitted to go ahead will induce seismicity and subsidence within a few miles of the vulnerable Sellafield nuclear waste plant." Full letters, links and petition below ENDS contact Marianne Birkby - Lakes Against Nuclear Dump https://www.lakesagainstnucleardump.com/ / Radiation Free Lakeland Dear Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Sack Cumbrian Coal Mine Boss from Government Advisor Role for Nuclear Dump PETITION Please find attached petition signatures numbering 1745 calling for the sacking of your Committee on Radioactive Waste Management’s key advisor Mark Kirkbride. KIrkbride’s coal mine business interests overlap with the remit of CoRWM. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL GROUPS SAY 'BLOCK LICENCE TO DRILL' Back in 2021 many national and international groups wrote to your predecessor BEIS Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng urging him to block Mark Kirkbride’s drilling licences from the Coal Authority (see letter below). Those licences have since lapsed and are due for renewal by the Coal Authority which is sponsored by your Department. COAL AUTHORITY AND COMMITTEE ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT BOTH SPONSORED BY DEPT FOR ENERGY & NET ZERO We call on the Secretary of State responsible for both the Coal Authority and for CoRWM to not only block the Cumbria Coal Mine boss’s licence to drill but to sack Mark Kirkbride as one of your key advisors on the nuclear waste plans for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The crony capitalism is blatant with Mark Kirkbride advising government to use the same suppliers for nuclear dump construction as the “preferred suppliers” for his coal mine near Sellafield. Mark Kirkbride has said that costs of GDF construction include "shafts sunk using Herrenknecht shaft boring roadheader machines (Herrenknecht, 2020a).” Herrenknecht are listed on Mark Kirkbride's coal mine supplier list. (links below) As well as advice on “construction” of a GDF, Mark Kilbride’s advice to CoRWM includes “investigation techniques.” Despite vehement opposition and a petition of 50,000 signatures, highly damaging seismic blasting went ahead in August 2022 in the “protected” Irish Sea. Deaths of marine animals were seen from day one in the impacted area. GOVERNMENT'S NUCLEAR WASTE ADVISOR DIGGING BIG COAL HOLE NEAR SELLAFIELD It is intolerable that a Government appointed nuclear waste advisor should be drilling the first deep earthquake inducing coal mine in 30 years just five miles from the already highly vulnerable and leaking Sellafield site. This coal mine would be very likely to induce earthquakes and it is telling that Mark Kirkbride fought tooth and nail to prevent his coal mine being subject to a seismic traffic light system such as that for fracking. The climate aspects of the coal mine may prove to be the least worst thing. An “exceptional” accident at Sellafield is made ever more likely by Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine. An increasingly likely “exceptional” accident at Sellafield has the potential to make huge swaths of the UK uninhabitable and contaminate much of Europe. Would your Department take responsibility for induced seismicity resulting from your nuclear dump advisor, Mark Kirkbride's coal mine near Sellafield? Induced seismicity could include: *liquefaction of the Sellafield site *widening of undetected cracks in the Magnox Swarf Silos and elsewhere on the Sellafield site " At present, it is not possible to determine with certainty the precise location of the leak, or indeed the silo or silos of the 6 that is leaking" "2.3-2.5 cubic metres of radioactive “liquor” has been leaking from the facility every day" * loss of coolant for high level wastes could impact the whole of Europe. *localised flooding exacerbating corrosion of existing and planned nuclear storage sites at Drigg and the Port of Workington and Sellafield itself. Is Mark Kirkbride the best nuclear advisor the UK Government can get - an earthquake inducing coal boss with business interests next to Sellafield? The petition calls for coal boss Mark Kirkbride to be sacked from the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. The public deserve an independent inquiry into how this situation of crony capitalism has arisen. Yours sincerely, Marianne Birkby Lakes Against Nuclear Dump - a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign address supplied "Waste Disposal Drivers for a Range of Nuclear Power Systems by Kathleen Dungan” Appendix B "The following costs were sent by Mark Kirkbride (Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM)” and the costs include "shafts sunk using Herrenknecht shaft boring roadheader machines (Herrenknecht, 2020a).” https://research.manchester.ac.uk/en/studentTheses/waste-disposal-drivers-for-a-range-of-nuclear-power-systems West Cumbria Mining - preferred suppliers. https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2020/09/05/your-local-coal-mine/ FULL text of Petition On behalf of Government, Secretary of State Michael Gove approved the coal mine on 7th December 2022. The CEO of “Woodhouse Colliery” and West Cumbria Mining is Mark Kirkbride. In 2019 Mark Kirkbride was appointed to the Government Committee on Radioactive Waste Management to advise on the UK Government's nuclear dump plans. His appointment has been extended to 2027. Kirkbride’s “invaluable" role involves: Scrutiny and provision of advice to Government on activities relating to the continued development of a Geological Disposal Facility (hot nuclear dump) safety case Scrutiny and provision of advice to Government on GDF siting activities, including selection criteria, methods of investigation, and the timescale for carrying out site selection in the three rock types Advise on new technologies that could be applicable to the development of a GDF including those in the mining and construction sectors and their potential impacts on a GDF programme. Mark Kirkbride has recently provided costings to Government for the Delivery of a GDF (Nuclear Dump) including advice on enormous Tunnel Boring Machines from the same company (Herrenknecht) which would supply his coal mine. This is a direct conflict of interest. Mark Kirkbride has clearly advised on the hugely damaging seismic blasting which took place in August in the Irish Sea to “investigate” the complex geology for a deep nuclear dump. The enormous area of the Irish Sea in which seismic blasting took take place overlaps Kirkbride’s proposed coal mine. Mark Kirkbride's 'investigative boreholes' for his coal mine may well have led to the reactivation of old mine water which has been pouring out into Whitehaven Harbour for a full year now with no end in sight. The Coal Mine Planning Inspector in his recommendation to Government stated : "the risk of a seismic event cannot be ruled out." It is beyond belief that the CEO of a seismicity inducing coal mine near Sellafield should be employed by Government as an “invaluable” advisor on nuclear waste burial in a very deep, massive 25km square and very hot nuclear dump. We demand that Mark KIrkbride’s appointment to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management is terminated. The Cumbrian Coal Mine and the Nuclear Dump Plan are clearly Hand in Hand while Mark Kirkbride Remains as Advisor to Government. This is the dark heart of cronyism and it must stop. We urgently ask that:

  • Mark Kirkbride's appointment to CoRWM is terminated

  • the Cronyism between Mark Kirkbride's Coal interests and the Nuclear dump plans are investigated by an Independent Inquiry.

  • there should be a Moratorium on the Nuclear Dump (GDF) Plans

  • Connections to Russian money investigated - WCM has been bankrolled by Owen Hegarty (now a Director of WCM) who has in turn overseen Siberian coal mine interests being bankrolled by the Russian State.

Mark Kirkbride - CoRWM https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/committee-on-radioactive-waste-management/about/our-governance Seismic Testing for a Nuclear Dump beneath the Irish Sea - Marine Life At Risk https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/06/22/the-uk-is-searching-the-sea-for-a-nuclear-dump-site-and-the-risks-to-marine-life-are-huge https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/06/19/extreme-torture/ ""We urge all those speaking against the mine at the public inquiry to give at least a mention to the fact that this coal mine would mine out voids faster than any previous coal mine in UK history and would induce earthquakes and cause subsidence in the Irish Sea and Sellafield area." https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/cumbrian-coal-mine-geotech-experts-play-down-earthquake-claims-08-09-2021/ "Earlier this year, the first batch of waste was safely removed from one of the most hazardous sites at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site. “Perhaps they’re going to bury it down the pit,” says a resident with characteristic Cumbrian grit."https://www.forbes.com/sites/heatherfarmbrough/2022/12/09/uk-government-approves-first-coal-mine-in-30-years-in-cumbria/ British Geological Society signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nuclear Waste Services in June 2020 - another conflict of interest as the coal mine CEO advises Nuclear Waste Services in his Government advisory role with the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management - "The collaboration between both organisations is intended to support improved environmental outcomes relating to a UK geological disposal facility (GDF)."https://www.bgs.ac.uk/news/british-geological-survey-signs-memorandum-of-understanding-with-radioactive-waste-management/#:~:text=BGS%20has%20today%20(24%20June,the%20UK's%20geological%20disposal%20programme.


  • Letter to BEIS 2021 https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/as-cumbria-county-council-withdraw-their-support-for-the-coal-mine-we-expose-the-public-inquiry-as-a-farce


  • 29.3.21

  • To the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng Secretary of State for BEIS



  • BLOCK THE CUMBRIA COAL MINE’S LICENCE TO DRILL I am writing to you again on behalf of nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland. We were the first to call out the proposed coal mine development in Cumbria and remain unequivocally opposed to the plan on both climate and nuclear safety grounds so we were delighted to hear your statement that there are “very compelling reasons” to block the mine. BEIS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COAL AUTHORITY The position of Secretary of State grants the wherewithal to put these words into action and to actually block the coal mine by ordering the Coal Authority (who report to BEIS) not to renew or extend existing conditional licenses or grant new unconditional licences to the developers West Cumbria Mining whose licence to drill has now lapsed. BLOCK THE COAL MINE, SAVE THE PUBLIC PURSE EXPENSIVE PUBLIC INQUIRY This would save the public purse the huge expense of a public inquiry and send a strong message to the UK and our international neighbours that BEIS is committed to both climate and nuclear safety. THIS IS NOT “ANYWHERE” IT WOULD BE FIVE MILES FROM SELLAFIELD While the significant climate impacts of this coal mine would be exactly the same anywhere else in the UK, this coal mine is not just anywhere in the UK. The mine would be largely subsea off the West Coast of Cumbria, would extend to within five miles of the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site and be directly under a massive nuclear waste dump known as the Sellafield Mud Patch. Sellafield has been pumping eight million litres of “low level” radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea every day. It been doing that for decades and nuclear wastes still continue to arrive in West Cumbria. The nuclear waste discharge pipeline out to the Irish Sea is in constant use. The coal mine developers say there would be “expected subsidence” of the Irish Sea bed. Recent reports (attached) have indicated this would most likely result in the resuspension of decades worth of Sellafield’s radioactive wastes now largely immobilised in the Irish Sea bed. Radioactive wastes including plutonium would be resuspended back into the water column, to ours and to neighbouring shores. The one thing not to do with a radioactive waste dump is disturb it. EIGHT YEARS SINCE THE COAL AUTHORITY/BEIS RUBBERSTAMPED ORIGINAL CONDITIONAL LICENCE TO DRILL EXPLORATORY BOREHOLES. NEW EVIDENCE As well as being under decades of Sellafield’s discharged nuclear wastes the mine itself would be adjacent to the area being promoted as a possible Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes under the Irish Sea. BEIS’s wide ranging responsibilities include the provision of and management of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM). The CEO of the coal mine Mark Kirkbride has been appointed by BEIS to CoRWM (Nov 2019) to advise government on ‘Delivery” of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The proposed coal mine would make a void of 136 Million square metres. What destabilising impact would this have on the laterally neighbouring rocks Radioactive Waste Management (advised by CoRWM) tell us are “Possible” for a GDF PUBLIC INQUIRY WOULD LIKELY BE LIMITED IN SCOPE – THERE ARE QUESTIONS SUCH AS COAL AUTHORITY/BEIS INVOLVEMENT IN HANDING OVER OF HAIG COLLIERY FOR £1 TO COAL MINE DEVELOPERS These questions (and more) should, but are not likely to be within the remit of a forthcoming public inquiry focussing on planning rather than issues of governance and nuclear safety. The public have already paid out £millions for this coal mine, to be precise, £2.5 Million in Heritage Lottery Funds for the Haig Colliery Museum which was then handed over to the developers for £1 (courtesy of the Coal Authority handing the developers a pre-emption right). As Secretary of State responsible for the Coal Authority you could ensure that the public do not have to foot the bill yet again, this time for a public inquiry into a coal mine that should have been scrapped yesterday. Tomorrow would be a good day to order the Coal Authority not to issue West Cumbria Mining with licence to drill. By taking this action the coal mine would be blocked and the expense of a public inquiry prevented. LEADING CUMBRIAN COUNCILLORS HAD ALREADY CHANGED THEIR MINDS AND VOTED NO. A NEW APPRAISAL BY COUNCIL IS NOW SUPERCEDED BY PUBLIC INQUIRY Leading Cumbrian Councillors had already reassessed their former support for the mine and voted “no.” Through this No vote they have voiced their opposition alongside leading academics, scientists, politicians, the public and many organisations. We urge you to honour the wishes of leading Cumbrian councillors and the millions of people represented by this letter and block this coal mine. The reasons for doing so are not just “compelling” they are overwhelming. The mine could be stopped tomorrow and the buck stops with BEIS. Yours sincerely, Marianne Birkby, founder of Radiation Free Lakeland Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a RaFL campaign Brian Jones, Vice Chair, CND Cymru Jo Smoldon on Behalf of Stop Hinkley Jonathon Porritt, Rebecca Heaton Cooper, The Heaton cooper studio, Grasmere Terry Bennett, Emeritus Professor, Nottingham University Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Anita Stirzaker, Bowness business owner Alison Denwood, George and Dragon Public House, Harrington, West Cumbria Harry Doloughan, Whitehaven Simon Burdis, Northern England, family carer Philip Gilligan, South Lakeland and Lancaster District CND Dave Webb, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow Dr Paul Dorfman, UCL Energy Institute Dr Rachel Western Postcards from Cumbria – artists collectiveDavid and Una Hatton, Wigton, Cumbria, Sarah J Darby BSc DPhil Associate Professor, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford Samagita Moisha, Lancaster. Concerns for nuclear safety presented to Cumbria CC at both committee hearings Tim Deere-Jones, Marine Research & Consultancy Joan West, Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND Martin Kendall, Resident High Walton, Near Whitehaven Oliver Tickell, journalist and campaigner Irene Sanderson, North Cumbria Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Walter Bennett, I am 90 years of age, born in Frizington, Cumberland, son of a coal miner, (former Director responsible for Technology in an International Company) Dr Carl Iwan Clowes OBE, Fellow Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Public Health, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners Mag Richards, WANA, the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance Ian Ralls, Anti-Nuclear Campaigner Neil Wilson, Life Long Conservationist, Hodbarrow Mine Action to the Royal Courts of Justice London Greenpeace, Core Participant within Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (Spycops) Richard Bramhall, Low Level Radiation Campaign David Penney, Coordinator, Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND Martyn Lowe, Close Capenhurst Campaign Andrew Warren, former special advisor to the House of Commons environment select committee. Neil Garrick-Maidment FBNA, Executive Director and Founder, The Seahorse Trust Christine Gibson, Keep it Green, Northern Ireland Mark Jennings, West Cumbria Water (Save our water services} David Dane, Veteran Campaigner Rob Harrison, Ethical Consumer Research Association.

  • References BEIS Ministerial Responsibility for the Coal Authority “Ministerial responsibility 11. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the Authority and it is proposed that any new Minister with responsibility for the Authority will carry out a visit to the Authority within six months of taking up appointment to learn about the role of the Authority and its functions. Typically, we would expect the chair and chief executive to meet with the minister at least annually. 12. Specific responsibilities include:  approving the Authority’s overall strategic objectives and the policy and performance frameworkwithin which the Authority operates (as set out in this framework document and associated documents  keeping Parliament informed about the Authority’s performance  approving the amount of grant-in-aid/grant/other funds to be paid to the Authority, and securing Parliamentary approval  carrying out responsibilities specified in the Act including appointments to the board, determining the terms and conditions of board members, consenting to the appointment of the, approval of terms and conditions of staff (Including pay) in accordance with the latest pay guidance  laying of the annual report and accounts before Parliament” Sellafield Radioactive Discharge on the Irish Sea Bed directly beneath the coal mine plan and question of ‘Who is Responsible for Safety of the Discharged Nuclear Wastes?’ is subject to complaint being dealt with by the Information Commissioner https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/responsibility_for_discharged_ra Coal Authority Licences https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/do-not-rubber-stamp-new-coal-authority-licenses-for-cumbria/ 6th Climate Budget https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sixth-carbon-budget/ note the Climate Change Committee is appointed by BEIS British Geological Society Lack of Testing in West Cumbria https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/west_cumbria_mining_abstraction#incoming-1625582 British Geological Society Lack of Testing in Bangladesh https://www.iwapublishing.com/news/arsenic-contamination-groundwater-bangladesh-environmental-and-social-disaster Who is Responsible for Radioactive Waste on the Irish Sea Bed – Call from Nuclear Free Local Authorities NFLA troubled by the UK Communities Minister not ‘calling in’ the decision over a deep underground coal mine in West Cumbria Haig Colliery and Mining MuseumReturn of final meeting in a creditors’ voluntary winding up https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/04914614/filing-historyWest Cumbria Mining’s documents detailing how assets worth £millions bought for £1would be protected from creditors 24 Nov 2020Registration of charge 071433980002, the document can be found here https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/07143398/filing-history The steel industry will soon have little use for Cumbrian coal https://www.businessgreen.com/opinion/4027666/steel-industry-soon-little-cumbrian-coal


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