Countering Capenhurst Issue 3 – October 2015

 

This is the third issue of Countering Capenhurst.

The third issue of Countering Capenhurst is just a brief summary of all the work we are involved in doing of late. This is because many of our activities can only be summed up as working in co-operation with other anti-nukiller groups and organisations.

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?

CCC protest at the DRS Depot in Carlisle

LEAFLETTING AND DEMO 18th July.

Close Capenhurst Campaign are teaming up with Radiation Free Lakeland to leaflet and demonstrate against the continuing practice of hauling radioactive wastes through our city centres, towns, and villages.

The event outside the Direct Rail Services [ DRS ] Kingmoor Depot, Etterby Road, Carlisle , Cumbria CA3 9NZ, will be between 11.00. & 14.00. on Saturday July 18th

This will be the first time that any demonstration has been held at the DRS Carlisle depot, and follows on from last years leafleting session at their depot in Crewe.

CCC will continue to leaflet outside of the various railway stations through which nukiller waste is taken.

We will do this in order to show the links between nukiller new build, to increase public awareness as to just what happens at Capenhurst, and to show just what long term radioactive problems face us all.

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.

All Change at URENCO

There has been a lot of press speculation about the future of URENCO over the last six months.

Some of this speculation concerns the sale of the company, while much of it is far more worrying.

Here is a quick summary of it all.

Company Reports.

Urenco has just published its financial report for 2014.

Continue reading All Change at URENCO

Nukiller Waste Flasks

Leafleting Sessions.

One of the regular activities of CCC is leafleting outside of the various railway stations through which DRS [ Direct Rail Services ] radioactive waste flasks are taken.

This is done to in order to highlight the relationship between the URENCO Uranium Enrichment plant at Capenhurst, and the problem of nukiller waste.

There is a very large amount of such high level radioactive waste which is stored at Sellafield.

There will be another leafleting session outside of Chester Station on Friday April 24th from 16.30. to 18.00.

The next nukiller waste trains leafleting session after that will take place in Warrington during May.

Scheduled times

Here are some of the Scheduled DRS (Direct Rail Services) train times for the period of December 15th 2014 to May 15th 2015.

Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS) to Valley Nuclear Electric

Chester – Passes through – 08.05.

Valley Nuclear Electric to Crewe Coal Sidings (DRS)

ChesterArrives 16.43. & Departs 16.59.

It should be noted that these DRS nukiller waste flasks only pass through the station when there is a need to transport radioactive fuel rods to Sellafield.

So we are still looking for train spotters to alert us when these flasks pass through Chester, and a number of other stations, each Monday to Friday.

No Nukiller Submarine Waste at Sellafield Demonstration

Radiation Free Lakeland will be holding a demonstration at Whitehaven, in Cumbria, on Tuesday January 27th. This is in opposing to the proposed dumping of radioactive debris from 27 nuclear submarines at Sellafield.

The demonstration is supported by the Close Capenhurst Campaign as a part of its own opposition to these submarine parts being dumped at any of the various MOD proposed sites for this waste.

You can find out more about it on the Radiation Free Lakeland Website.

A response to the current MOD set of proposals as to where radioactive waste from decommissioned nukiller powered submarines might be stored.

A response to the current MOD set of proposals as to where radioactive waste from decommissioned nukiller powered submarines might be stored.

The MOD is currently engaged in a public consultation about where to store the radioactive remains of twenty seven decommissioned nukiller powered submarines.

We welcome

We welcome that the MOD is to decommission twenty seven nuclear submarines.
However, that is just the start, as there are other nukiller powered
submarines in service.

We urge that all nukiller powered submarines be decommissioned.

More to come

There will eventually be seven new Astute-class nukiller powered submarines.
The first three have already been launched. The second three are currently under construction and due to go into service between 2018 and 2022. A seventh one is ordered, but is not yet under construction.

We urge that the entire Astute-class nukiller powered submarine programmer be scrapped.

The Proposed sites

The MOD has proposed that the waste from the twenty seven nukiller powered submarines be stored at a number of current nukiller facilities.
The original list of sites included Aldermaston, Burghfield, Capenhurst, Chapelcross, Devonport and Sellafield.

None of these sites are in any way suitable for this proposal.

Aldermaston and Burghfield

Aldermaston and Burghfield are where nukiller weapons are manufactured and maintained.
To store the radioactive submarine parts at these plants would only complicate the process of how we might decommission these plants.

We call for these plants to be closed down as part of the process of unilateral nukiller disarmament.

Capenhurst

With regards to the proposed storage of radioactive parts from nukiller
powered submarines at Capenhurst, there is a major problem with this idea.
The Uranium enrichment process at Capenhurst involves the use of Uranium Hexafluoride.
The Uranium is transported in to the plant, processed, stored as depleted Uranium and transported back out as Uranium enriched in the form of a Uranium Hexafluoride.

Uranium Hexafluoride is highly toxic, reacts violently with water and is corrosive to most metals.

Thus any ‘accidental’ release of Uranium Hexafluoride at Capenhurst could impact upon any radioactive waste which might be stored at the plant.

Chapelcross

Built in 1959 as a nukiller power reactor, its primary purpose was to produce weapons-grade plutonium. It has been under-going decommissioning since 2004. It therefore does not need more radioactive waste accumulating on site.

It should also be noted that the Scottish Assembly is currently debating whether to store any nukiller waste within Scotland.

Devonport

The MOD has already ruled out Devonport.

Sellafield

Sellafield should not be considered for storage of radioactive waste from submarines. The site cannot deal with the inventory of waste it already holds.
Sellafield’s links with the MOD would be reinforced by the storage of waste from nuclear submarines, this would magnify the already prime threat of terrorism at the site.

Our current concerns

The MOD’s proposal refers to a site being built which will store the
radioactive submarine waste until 2040, when the UK’s Geological Disposal Facility is planned to come into operation.
At present the exact location of any Geological Disposal Facility is still very much in question.
So any future waste from decommissioned nukiller powered submarines could be added to the 27 which are currently under discussion.
Thus there is a need to question just how large the proposed storage site might become within the next 25 to 100 years.

What is needed

It is very clear to us that the process of decommissioning nukiller powered submarines should ensure that any radioactive waste is properly dealt with, but the present MOD proposals will only add to these problems.

Thus we need to be looking for the following: –

– A safe site which is isolated from large centres of population.
– A geologically stable area.
– A secure site.
– A place where no other nukiller processing is taking place.
and
– One at which no other radioactive waste is currently stored and/or
processed.

This statement is endorsed by Radiation Free Lakeland