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Monday, 21 April 2014

Environment Agency admits that the Selection of the Sellafield Nuclear waste dump site was a "mistake".

 One million cubic meters of waste near Sellafield are housed at a site that was a mistake

Sellafield nuclear facility

I have never been a supporter of the use of nuclear as an option for producing energy. Amongst the reasons for my opposition to nuclear generated power, is a very simple question to which the pro nuclear lobby have never been able to provide an acceptable answer. The question is and will always be, "What do you do with the waste?"  The responses trotted out over the years, range between the bizarre and ludicrous (put it in a rocket and fire it into the sun or fill containers with it and dump it in the oceans, amongst the more perverse examples) to the now accepted international practices of land fill and dumping within the existing environment.  The usual criticisms of these suggestions I have documented elsewhere over the years, using examples of waste half life, thousand year contamination, poisonous legacy for generations to come, and numerous other issues not least of which is the physical "management" of the problem.

LLW Repository: Sellafield


Apart from the glaringly obvious fact the sooner or later, the availability of sites for the landfill option become exhausted as the amount of land on this planet is a finite resource, it is abundantly clear that many sites selected or considered as options have their own challenges either apparent at the time, or more sinisterly, laying dormant as "latent" problems to be triggered by some event or set of circumstances at some time in the future. Such it seems, is the case with the one million cubic meters of waste at Sellafield as revealed by the Environmental Agency in a recent report.

Transportation of waste: always a problem.

It is neither here nor there whether the waste is Low-level waste or other wise, the fact remains that the "disposal" of nuclear waste is the fundamental problem which for many diverse reasons, the industry, successive governments and the public have never fully understood or considered. There is little doubt that the admission by the Environment agency that the selection of the Drigg LLWR site Sellafield was a mistake, will raise concerns as to whether other sites in locations around the country could or will be affected in a similar way at some point in the future. It is a little late for detailed consideration as to why particular sites were chosen or who was responsible for making the choice. We are where we are, and collectively we need to find a solution, if a solution can be found.
Grotesquely, the appalling reality, is that even now, we are rushing like lemmings towards the cliff, to build even more nuclear power stations which will generate even more waste of varying levels of toxicity, to compound an already alarming problem.
I remain convinced that the continuing and expanding pursuit of nuclear energy is a policy of economic, social, political and environmental insanity.