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Sellafield Complain to Environment Agency that Radiation Testing is Too Difficult. Poor Sellafield!

Image - fishing on the river Calder before the river was canalised to pass through the site with its radioactive and chemical load as quickly as possible. Now Sellafield want to dump ever more waste into the river from a new Outfall X - you can write to oppose this before 3rd Sept to By email to (see below for inspiration for your objections)

The following is a Press Release from Nuclear Free Local Authorities - we wonder if the media will report on Sellafield's "decomissioning" aka out of control dumping of radioactive wastes to air, river, land and sea?


‘Very complicated and time-consuming’: Sellafield’s verdict on radiation monitoring of grave concern to campaign groups

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities have joined two campaign groups in Cumbria, Lakes against the Nuclear Dump and Close Capenhurst, to register their objections to any change in the rules relating to issuing and monitoring radioactive waste discharges at Sellafield.

The Environment Agency is consulting on a request by Sellafield for a Permit Variation comprising several parts – the registration of a new discharge stack and a new outflow into the River Calder, and a request for permission to expand a landfill site within the facility; this of course amounts to Sellafield seeking official sanction from the agency charged with protecting Britain’s environment and the health of its people to continue to pollute Cumbria’s skies, watercourses and soil with radioactive waste as it has done for nearly seven decades.

More worryingly, Sellafield is also seeking an exemption from monitoring some of its river and atmospheric discharges, seemingly for reasons of business expediency. The business wants pollution released via the ‘new’ Outfall X into the Calder to ‘not be subject to any monitoring or discharge reporting against site limits’, but when it comes to monitoring for Krypton-85 the business goes further, bewailing the requirements of the current regulatory regime: ‘It should be noted that the sample collection and analysis of Kr85 from environmental concentrations at the met station on site is very complicated and time consuming, in fact it makes the dominant contribution to the analytical requirements for the environmental monitoring programme.’

Littered within the consultation document are references to a whole set of ‘nuclear nasties’ produced by operations at Sellafield, Antimony-125, Caesium-137, Plutonium-239, Strontium-90, and Tritium, now known universally as the Japanese Government’s poison of choice for the Pacific Ocean ; as for the Krypton-85, the business, although funded annually through almost £3 billion of UK taxpayers’ money, seems happy to forgo any requirement to protect the taxpayer by continuing to monitor for a substance described by the US Environment Pollution Centre as a gamma and beta emitter which is ‘highly toxic and may cause cancers, thyroid disease, skin, liver, or kidney disorders’.

The campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland has for almost ten years been commendably taking soil and sand samples from the beaches of West Cumbria and sending them for analysis to a laboratory in the United States. Despite a sparsity of funds limiting this analysis, contamination by Americium-241 and Caesium-137 was found in one-third of the samples to be over the ‘accepted limits’; this from beaches described as ‘safe’ and ‘pristine’. On a visit to West Cumbria in 2014, the former US nuclear industry regulator Arnie Gundersen said: “Some of the samples I took back then were as radioactive as Fukushima. The UK government has been covering up the severity of the radiation in the Irish Sea and on Cumbria’s beaches”.

The UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities believe that there is no safe dose of radiation. We subscribe to the Linear-No Threshold Model, which states that the relationship between cancer risk and radiation dose is linear, so even at low doses there is still a small cancer risk. Many scientists and academics in this field also share this consensus, and the British Medical Journal has recently carried two articles of studies subscribing to this view. It therefore follows that we oppose any human activity which leads to the discharge of radioactive material into the sea, our waterways, atmosphere, onto beaches or into soil as this inevitably contaminates the environment, jeopardises the health of marine, animal, and bird life, and ultimately impacts on human health.

The objectors are also concerned that each element forming the Permit Variation should have been submitted separately, rather than together and charge that the information provided is inadequate – for example, lacking comparative historic data relating to discharges and the specifications for the HEPA filtration system incorporated into the stack – and is inaccessible – not being given in ‘lay-persons terms’.

The NFLAs were therefore supportive of a joint submission of opposition with our fellow campaigners LAND and Close Capenhurst.

The Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, fears the latest application by Sellafield is another example of regulation being stripped away from the nuclear industry: “We have previously seen the government enshrine within legislation an exemption for future nuclear fusion plants from being licenced as nuclear stations; the recent removal of the requirement that EDF Energy install an acoustic fish deterrent at Hinkley Point C, and so, by default, from any future Sizewell C; and a recent consultation on managing radioactive waste that talked up the prospect of permitting more incineration, dumping and discharges, and even mentioned the unwelcome possibility of reintroducing reprocessing and burning plutonium as fuel.

“The health of our people and planet should always trump considerations of cost and profit. Policies of ‘dilute and disperse’, whilst they may reduce the cost to the polluter, increase the health risk to our population and the environmental damage to our planet, and so we are opposed to them – instead we believe that radioactive substances should be stored on-site in a policy of ‘concentrate and contain’, where there is the possibility of ongoing monitoring and management and, if necessary, retrieval can take place.

“These opposing views explain the decision of the Japanese Government to choose to initiate the release of over 1.3 million tons of tritiated wastewater from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean and the motivation behind the protests of tens of thousands of concerned citizens in many nations around the Pacific (and we note also in Bangor, North Wales). “This Sellafield application is that conflict in microcosm and we urge anyone opposed to these plans to register their objection by the closing date of 3 September.” Ends://… For further information please contact the NFLA Secretary Richard Outram by email to: The Environment Agency consultation (closing date 3 September 2023) can be found at: Notes to Editors The joint submission by LAND, Close Capenhurst and the UK/Ireland NFLAs

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Aug 31, 2023

Here is an illustration of how the last stretches of the Rivers Calder and Ehen are turned into radioactive sewers - with no end in sight.....unless....

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