Sellafield A Clear And Present Danger

SELLAFIELD A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER

Some of the media in the Isle of Man finally woke up last week to the fact that the Island has one of the most dangerous nuclear installations on the globe right on its doorstep (see link):

https://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/sellafield_arrests_should_we_worry_1_3356750

As indicated, the story was sparked by the arrest of several people under the Terrorism act near the Sellafield nuclear plant. The alert fortunately turned out to be without foundation and all detained were released without charge.

The Islands immediacy to the Sellafield plant is most evident on the east coast were on any reasonable day (weather wise) the plant is clearly visible.

However, Sellafield is just one of a series of nuclear installations around the rish Sea and the most potent threat to date has come not from terrorism but from accidents or accidental releases of radiation at these plants which occur on a regular basis.

One of the great ‘successes’ of the British nuclear industry has been to market its safety record and yet the truth is that other than Chernobyl and more recently Fukushima the most serious nuclear accidents had happened in the United Kingdom. The most serious were the Sellafield fire in the 1950s and the refuelling accident at Wylfa in the 1990s but in between and since there have
been a litany of more minor incidents.

Despite last weeks Manx newspaper article the most immediate danger still posed by Britain’s nuclear industry is from accident and poor health and safety which is not helped by what we perceive as to cosy a relationship between the industry, regulators and the UK government.

Undoubtedly terrorism, particularly in the post 9/11 environment, poses an increased risk. However here again the UK government and the industry have shown themselves to be wanting.

Security and the no fly zone around nuclear plants was only beefed-up after the event though concerned groups including the Celtic League had highlighted these areas of deficiency.

Astonishingly even after 9/11 security was lax and the most `memorable’ article we published on this highlighted the lack of security surrounding transports of nnuclear waste by rail to the Sellafield plant (see link):

“NUCLEAR TRANSPORT? IT’S THE 3-15 VIA CREWE TO SELLAFIELD”

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1232

This revealed that train-spotters regularly posted details of nuclear rail shipments on their enthusiast websites. After we alerted in March 2004 the IAEA raised the issue with the UK (See link):

IAEA ASK BRITISH TO CHECK NUCLEAR ‘TRAIN-SPOTTERS GUIDE

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1415

Astonishingly, two years later there were still concerns about the security of the transports when a UK journalist gained access to a Cumbria bound transport
(see link):

SECURITY FEARS AGAIN OVER FREIGHT TRAINS FROM HELL!

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1975

Even today apparently train-spotting anoraks can trace the trains via the location of the type of locomotive used to haul them.

YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP!

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

10/05/11

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

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