Countering Capenhurst – March 2022

URENCO at 52

On March 4th it was 52 years since the founding of URENCO with Treaty of Almelo.

Aside from rereading out previous statements about our opossition to URENCO we read out the following new one from Radiation Free Lakeland

‘ Radiation Free Lakeland stand in solidarity with Close Capenhurst and would like to thank the Close Capenhurst campaigners for representing all of us who are impacted by the nuclear waste industry from its obscene beginnings in uranium mining to its ‘dangerous to all life on earth’ end product which is long lived nuclear wastes. We have long been concerned about the exports of Uranium Hexafluoride from URENCO Capenhurst (and Springfields) to Russia and other countries, one mans nuclear waste is another mans nuclear weapon.

In Cumbria we are being asked to “look again” at the dumping of High Level Nuclear wastes in our flawed and complex geology – this time even the subsea area is on the table including the Irish Sea area either side of the controversial coal mine plan.

Incredibly the coal mine boss Mark Kirkbride is giving the UK government advice on costings – not only on the digging of very deep holes for Geological Disposal of High level Nuclear wastes but also on the digging of not so deep holes for Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes.

We have set up a new campaign to fight these plans called Lakes Against Nuclear Dump and we are calling for the dumping of nuclear wastes to cease – everywhere! The first step is to Just Stop Nuclear.’

Check out Lakes Against Nuclear Dump

URENCO Uranium to Russia.

The following is a press release from Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg in Germany.

Gronauer Uran in umkämpften Ukraine-AKW?

Uranium waste export from UK to Russia stopped?

A few days ago – still after the beginning of the war – Urenco wanted to use the Russian nuclear freighter “Mikhail Dudin” to bring depleted uranium waste from the British uranium enrichment plant Capenhurst to Russia for final storage. The deal apparently fell through at the last minute after protests from Germany and the Netherlands. A Dutch Urenco spokeswoman told the newspaper Tubantia that Urenco would “of course” comply with EU, UK and US sanctions. But does this about-face also apply to uranium waste transports from Gronau to Russia?

Uranium enriched in Gronau in Münsterland is probably also being used in the fiercely contested nuclear power plants in Ukraine. This is the fear of anti-nuclear initiatives, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate IPPNW and the Federal Association of Citizens’ Initiatives for Environmental Protection (BBU). They therefore demand that the German government immediately stop the delivery of uranium from Gronau and of fuel elements from Lingen to Russia and Ukraine. This also means a binding end to uranium waste exports from Gronau to Russia.

For several years, the German-Dutch-British uranium enricher Urenco has been Ukraine’s main supplier of enriched uranium. This is then processed into fuel elements by the US company Westinghouse in Västeras, Sweden, from where it is exported to Ukraine. According to the export list of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the most recent export licences for enriched uranium from Gronau to the Swedish fuel element factory were issued on 1 February 2022 and 2 December 2021.

The transports from Gronau to Russia were stopped for a couple of years, but take place constantly nowadays.

Civil Nukiller Police

During Febuary American Soldiers from their Nuclear Disablement Team 2 (NDT 2) toured the CNC Griffin Park Tactical Training Centre at Sellafield during a recent visit

Nothing to Celebrate

The following statement will be read outside of the URENCO Capenhurst site at 14.00. on Wednesday March 4th 2020.

Nothing to Celebrate.

It is now 50 years since the Treaty of Almalo was signed.

That’s 50 years since URENCO was founded.

That’s 50 years of URENCO enriching Uranium.

That’s 50 years of URENCO taking park of the nukiller fuel cycle,which starts with uranium mining and ends with the creation of vast amounts of radioactive waste.

That’s 50 years of playing a part in the production of extreme energy, causing radioactive pollution, and doing untold damage to the environment.

That is Nothing to celebrate.

We grieve for all those who have been, are currently, and will suffer as a result of the work of URENCO, and at the Capenhurst plant.

We call for the end of uranium mining, uranium enrichment, and the immediate closure of all nukiller powet plants.

We call for URENCO to play a part in cleaning up the radioactive mess which it has caused.

We call for the creation of world in future generations no longer have to suffer the ill effects extreme energy such as nukiller power.

Future celebrations

We will Celebrate when the Capenhurst URENCO plant is Closed Down.

We will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that closure.

We will celebrate the closure of all nukiller power plant.

In the meanwhile we will continue campaigning for the creation of a world without any form of radioactive energy production.

Chester CND

Close Capenhurst Campaign

CND Cymru

Greenpeace [ London ]

Japanese Against Nuclear [ JAN ]

Kick Nuclear

Nuclear Trains Action Group

Radiation Free Lakelands

Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group

Counting The Cost – The New Capenhurst Tailings Plant.

The new tailings plant at Capenhurst raises more concerns.

Time and Materials.

The new Capenhurst tailing plant took an extra four years to complete than URENCO originally intended it to be. That is two years longer than the previous two years delay on the planned opening of the plant.

The plant is built of 55,000 cubic meters of concrete and 7,300 tonnes of steel.

At the official opening of the plant it was stated how that’s enough concrete to fill twenty Olympic sized swimming pools.

What was not stated is how the use of so much concrete impacts upon climate change.

In to the future.

URENCO have previously stated that the new tailing plant will be in operation until 2052.

Yet given the nukiller industries previous record of dragging work on, together with the four years delay in building the plant, we regard the 2052 date as no more than a guestimation.

From Germany and the Netherlands.

The Capenhurst plant will be processing Depleted Uranium Hex from the site, together with that from the URENCO plants in German and the Netherlands.

Given that we don’t know how much depleted hex is stored at Capenhurst, never mind the two other plants, we have no idea just what quantity of Hex will be processed. That says nothing about any more depleted depleted uranium Hex which might be created in the years to come.

By Sea

URENCO plan to ship over the depleted Uranium Hex from their plants in Germany and the Netherlands, and then ship back the resulting the Uranium Oxide to those plants.

Given that there is a prohibition on moving Hex through the Channel and other tunnels, all of this hex will need to be transported by road and sea.

There is no rail connection at the Capenhurst plant.

Thus we are looking to face the danger of Hex being moved that way for the next 35 years.

Capenhurst – The Facts

Press release
Capenhurst – the Facts

A pamphlet that takes a critical look at URENCO’s Capenhurst uranium enrichment plant in Cheshire has been published by the Close Capenhurst Campaign. 

Capenhurst – the Facts is the first publication of its kind. The report includes a description of URENCO’s activities, transport of material, accidents that have occurred, the tailings plant that will store depleted uranium hexafluoride for years to come, and storage of submarine reactors.

Although the Capenhurst uranium enrichment plant plays a key part in the nuclear cycle, its functions – and indeed its existence – have been largely unknown to the general public. 


The 20-page pamphlet  is available for £2 from

closecapenhurst@gmail.com 

It can also be read
online.

Without a doubt, there are very real concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding Capenhurst’s activities – the adequacy  of nuclear safeguards at Capenhurst, environmental  and public health risks associated with Capenhurst’s routine operations, as well as incidents and accidents associated with Capenhurst’s management of uranium hexafluoride.”   
Dr Paul Dorfman  The Energy Institute University College London

“The uranium hexafluoride (UF6) containers in your photos are of the type 48Y which is designated as a Type B cask that is required to sustain immersion in a fire of 800°C for 30 minutes – this test condition is not that particularly onerous, neither in temperature nor duration of  the immersing fire.”
John Large
(in an email to Radiation Free Lakeland) John Large was the Leading independent analyst of safety and security in the nuclear industry up until the time of his death, aged 75, from a heart attack in 2018

Capenhurst, The Facts is “quite wonderful, congratulations”  Helen Caldicott  Founding President of Physicians for Social Responsibility – The umbrella organisation International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985
ENDS

Contacts:
The Author Lowana Veal T:  00354 5577045, 00354 6991522.
Close Capenhurst T 0151 7060575. M. 07951965499
Publisher – Wildart Books. 015395 63671

STOP URENCO Declaration 2018

It is now 40 years after the Stop URENCO Declaration which stated that: –

‘We declare our total and uncompromising opposition to URENCO and in particular to the supply of enriched uranium.’

The Declaration went on to state that: –

‘No safeguards are adequate to prevent the diversion of nuclear material for the production of nuclear weapons.’

While URENCO continues to enrich Uranium and sell it to many countries around the world, we will continue to oppose these sales, much in the same way as we oppose all aspects of the nukiller power industry.

Our immediate concerns are:-

– The URENCO sale of depleted uranium Hexafluoride to Russia.

– The increase of radioactive waste which is a direct result of uranium enrichment.

and

– How the proposed building on new nukiller reactors will result in the creation of yet more highly radioactive toxic waste.

We continue to declare our opposition to URENCO and the nukiller power industry,

and are prepared to take all non-violent steps necessary to achieve these ends.

Close Capenhurst Campaign

Greenpeace [ London ]

Kick Nuclear

Nuclear Waste Trains Action Group

PAWB People Against ‘Wylfa-B

Radiation Free Lakelands

June 24th 2018

Countering Capenhurst – November 2017

As ever there is a lot of campaigning work which needs to be done.

Yet much of this work is very dependent upon putting a lot of time, and effort,  in to constantly monitoring what goes on at the various radioactive fuel plants.

It is not the most glamorous type of campaigning work, but it is an essential activity.

This issue of Countering Capenhurst contains some of the various documents which we have been looking at of late.

At some stage in the future we will combine a lot of this information.

After which we might be better able to estimate just how much Depleted Uranium Hexafloride is still to be found at Capenhurst.

That’s in contrast to all of the guestimations which we have been able to do so far.

After that we will try to put together an estimation of just how long it will take URENCO to process it all in their new tailings plants. Though it will not be possible to do until we have more figures to work with.

Another URENCO Contract Comes To Light.

Finding out just which contracts URENCO has is not an easy thing to achieve.

So we found the following news story of interest.

OPPD [ Omaha Public Power District ]board of directors unanimously approves new vice presidential position.

The key text in this news story being: –

‘ Recently, Hansen’s production fuels team unwound the last of four outstanding nuclear fuel agreements with URENCO, a global player in the nuclear industry that was asking OPPD for a sizable payday.

Hansen said earlier this week that URENCO argued OPPD owed “on the order of $66 million” as outlined in a contract between the two parties.

OPPD refuted the assertion, disassembled nuclear fuel that was not used or needed at Fort Calhoun and sold it back to URENCO, netting about $15 million in the process.’

Not seeing the flasks because of the trees.

This is a quote from the current issue of the Railway Magazine – November 2017.

It is to be found under Operations Track Record – DRS.

‘ The RM carries regular reports regarding the numerous flask trains which run around the country.

One correspondent reported a visit made to Dungeness branch on September 19 when class 68 Nos 68003 + 68018 arrived with a train, with the class 68s having bodyside damage caused by trees, buckthorn, and brambles growing along the branch.’

We make no comment upon this report.

Recent Activities

On October 10th it was the 60th anniversary of the Windscale fire.

We joined with Radiation Free Lakeland to mark this event at both the Spriingfields and Sellafield sites.

While we continue to keep leafleting outside of Warrington station on a regular basis.

Warrington is just one of the many railway stations through which highly radioactive used fuel rods are taken to Sellafield.

If you want to take part in any of these leafleting sessions, or hold one at your local station where these waste trains go through, then please get in contact with us.

Further Research & Further Reading

Survey into the Radiological Impact of the Normal Transport of Radioactive Material in the UK by Road and Rail

Published by

Public Health England

March 2017

This is one of the most interesting documents which has been published this year.

Amongst other things this document give a total of the amount of radioactive materials which originate at the various nukiller plants.

What’s of particular interest is amount of waste which being transported by road.

‘Taking into account that the Magnox data provided was for a six month period, the total number of packages currently transported over a year is estimated to be about 9,200 by road and 700 by rail.’

This is broken down in to tables such of the following: –

‘ Table : Summary of the consignments (C) and packages (P) containing radioactive waste transported by road and rail to and from LLWRbetween April 2014 and March 2015.’

Yet there are still major information gaps in these figures.

Such as within the following:

‘Information on movements of radioactive material was also obtained from a metal recycling facility which treats radioactively contaminated metal. Surface contaminated metal is treated at this UK site but activated metal is sent to an overseas facility for treatment. In 2014, 131 consignments containing 950 packages were made from the metal recycling company. About 20% of the total consignments were to UK air and sea ports and were subsequently shipped overseas.

There is no indication of which companies or ports these might be.

While much of the information in this document uses the word Estimated.

For example while referring to just how radioactive expossure the transport workers receive per year.

Thus it lists the following: –

– Estimated doses due to transport during the nuclear fuel cycle.

– Estimated doses due to transport during the uranium enrichment process.

– Estimated doses due to transport of radioactive material from the nuclear fuel reprocessing facility.

– Estimated doses due to transport of low level radioactive waste for recycling, storage and disposal.

While this quote says it all: –

‘During a visit to the fuel fabrication facility at Springfields it was not possible to take dose rate measurements around a loaded vehicle as none were available. It has therefore not been possible to estimate doses to workers loading or unloading vehicles or doses to drivers transporting the different fuel types.

In summary.

This document does contain a lot of very useful information, but it can not be defined as one of the most comprenensive publications on the subject.

Some Forthcoming Events.

Saturday December 2nd.

We will be running a stall at the

Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair

March 2018

On March 11th it will be 7 years since the start of the ongoing disaster at Fukushima.

Kick nuclear will be marking this date with a series of events.

In the meanwhile the regular weekly picket of the Japanese embassey & the London TEPCO offices continues to be held every friday.

July 2018

We will also be back at the DRS [ Direct Rail Service ] open day at their Gresty Bridge depot in Crewe next July.

More details on this when we have the exact date this will take place.

Countering Capenhurst – Our Hex and Export Concerns

This is a special issue of Countering Capenhurst.

Finding out just what goes on at Capenhurst is very difficult to do, and the same applies to all of the URENCO plants.

What follows is just a summary of what we have managed to find out about the plant of late, and something about which countries URENCO has been trading with.

A question of Hex

We continue to keep asking about just what is going on at Capenhurst, with questions such as:-

How much depleted Uranium Hexafluoride is stored at Capenhurst?

&

What is the state of the Uranium Hex containers ?

Yet there is an aspect of this which very few people have ever heard about.

There is a clue to it within the following  Review by HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.

Urenco (Capenhurst) Ltd’s strategy for decommissioning its nuclear licensed site.

 ‘UCL has an ongoing contract, up for renewal in 2007, with Technabexport of Russia, which takes ex UCL tails cylinders and re-enriches the material to low enrichment product and/or pseudo natural. The product is sold on and the pseudo natural is re-fed or sold on. The operation of this contract is maintaining a steady state of net tails stocks on Capenhurst site.’

That’s something which URENCO has kept very quiet about.

Shipping information

We recently came upon a German  BREMISCHE BÜRGERSCHAFT report which listed the movement of uranium through the port of Bremin.

This included uranium being sent from Urenco to Russia.

Two of the latest of these reports are

Atomtransporte durch das Land Bremen seit dem 30. Juni 2014

&

Atomtransporte durch das Land Bremen seit dem 30. Juni 2013

The importance of these reports is that they give some clues as to just which companies and countries URENCO is traiding with.

Europe’s radioactive secret

Then we came upon the following report which was published in 2005,  and which has not been followed up on.

Europe’s radioactive secret.

How EDF and European nuclear utilities are dumping nuclear waste in the Russian Federation

‘ This report summarises the secretive attempts of the European nuclear industry to ‘solve’ one of their largest waste problems, by exporting and dumping tens of thousands of tonnes of uranium wastes in Siberia, in the Russian Federation.’

This last document is very worrying indeed.

The Re-enrichment of West European Depleted Uranium Tails in Russia

The information contained in this document are very technical in nature.

So rather than give an analysis of what is in this document we will just give the following summary from this report.

‘ Since 1996, depleted uranium tails from West European enrichers Urenco and Eurodif are being sent to Russia for re-enrichment. In Russia, the imported tails are, instead of natural uranium, fed into surplus enrichment cascades. The product obtained from re-enrichment is mostly natural-equivalent uranium plus some reactor-grade low-enriched uranium.

These products are sent back to Urenco and Eurodif, while the secondary tails generated remain in Russia,where they are re-enriched further to obtain morenatural-equivalent uranium and/or slightly enriched uranium. The latter is then used as blendstock for the downblending of surplus highly-enriched weapons-grade uranium into reactor-grade low-enriched uranium. The ultimate tails left, still comprising at least two thirds of the amount imported, remain in Russia with unknown fate.’

&

‘Details on the re-enrichment business, though it is currently taking place at large scale, are hardly obtainable. In Russia, all related information is confidential; and, the West-European enrichment companies involved, Urenco and Eurodif, are not very communicative, to put it politely. In its recent annual reports, Urenco not even discloses its annual production figure, nor the capacity break down for its facilities, not to speak about other data of interest, such as amount and assays of tails produced.’

We will continue to keep searching for more information on these contacts.

What Next For Capenhurst and URENCO.

New Developments.

Recent reports about the expansion of URENCO and Capenhurst give some indication of just what they intend to do at the plant in the years to come.

Here is just one of these reports: –

Urenco to complete New Mexico expansion by year-end.

The two interesting points being:-

The group invested €280.6 million ($309.5 million) in the first half of 2015 in the new enrichment facility in the USA and at its tails management facility in the UK.

&

That URENCO said in March that it had pushed back the expected start date of the Capenhurst Tails Management Facility (TMF) deconversion plant to 2017.

ONR Reports.

The recent Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) report makes for some interesting reading too.

http://www.onr.org.uk/llc/2015/urenco-2.pdf

In particular see page 7 under Local Liaison Committee meeting which would seem to confirm the view that all the MOD defuelled reactor pressure vessels will land up at Capenhurst.

&

On page 8 section 3 which covers Hex tailing leaks.

The other alarming alarming ONR report includes information about the the Capenhurst Tails Management Facility, which is now scheduled to start running in 2020. This plant will process the depleted uranium from the URENCO plants in both Germany & the Netherlands.

Thus there will be a lot more Uranium Hex being transported by sea & road.

What is really interesting is how the ONR classifies Capenhurst as a the following: –

Type of site: Operational, chemical plant and other facilities.

Waste from the Capenhurst plant

One of the most pointed question about Capenhurst is to be found upon the Radiation Free Lakeland blog.

So just where does the low level radioactive waste from uranium enrichment at Capenhurst and nuclear fuel manufacture at Springfields go?

Babcock At Capenhurst

In June a new contract was signed between Capenhurst Nuclear Services and Cavendish Nuclear.

The contract is to transfer all of the depleted Uranium which is currently stored at the Capenhurst plant in to new storage vessels.

This work will commence in 2020.

Until then the current depleted uranium, and any more which is produced, will continue to be stored in drums around the plant in the form of a Uranium Hexafluoride.

Not Just at capenhurst.

Cavendish Nuclear is a subsidiary of Babcock International, which is a major player in the nukiller power industry.

Babcock International is the world’s 26th largest arms-producing/military services company.

Yet again this illustrates the very close relationship which exists between the military and nukiller power industry.