Two issues that Celtic League has highlighted have coalesced as Highland Council and environmental campaigners have spoken out against proposals to ship highly toxic radiation waste from Dounreay in Northern Scotland to the United States.
The suitability of some vessels tasked with carrying nuclear waste was called into question after the fire last year on the Danish Ro Ro vessel, MV Parida.
In addition we campaigned against the withdrawal of Emergency Towing Vessels from strategic areas around the coasts of Britain. The ETVs in place for two decades were cut as part of austerity measures by the UK government.
The leader of Highland Council Margaret Davidson said:
“I am frankly astonished that this news has come out of the blue at a time that the UK Government is well aware of our concerns regarding the threatened removal of the emergency towing vessels (ETV) in the north and west.
“This new development certainly raises the risk of a potentially catastrophic incident to unacceptable levels – particularly in the context of the loss of ETV capability in our coastal waters.
“The Pentland Firth is notorious for the challenges it poses in terms of weather, tides and navigation and there needs to be adequate protection in place to respond in the case of an incident whilst the waste is being transported.”
Highland Council’s community services committee chairman, Cllr Allan Henderson said:
“The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has already undertaken a risk assessment that has concluded that even without this new development, there is insufficient mitigation in place without the ETVs to manage the risks to life and the environment in the event of a major shipping incident.
“I think this is a game changer in terms of the decision by UK Government Ministers to remove this vital service. The UK government must put people’s lives above budgetary considerations.”
Meanwhile Friends of the Earth Scotland believe the transports are unnecessary and illogical their spokesman Dr Richard Dixon, said:
“Only the nuclear industry could think it was a good idea to risk playing ping pong with large quantities of one of the most dangerous materials on the planet across the Atlantic.
“Europe is littered with plenty of highly radioactive waste from both reactors and weapons. There cannot possibly be a need to be importing any more from the US, nor for us to be sending ours to them.
“Nuclear waste should be dealt with as close to where it is produced as possible rather than risking transporting it in ships or planes.
“This waste will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The consequences of an accident during transit would be horrific.”
Image: Emergency Towing Vessels removed by UK government cuts.
Issued by: The Mannin Branch Celtic League
THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues
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