AS beleaguered shale gas explorer Cuadrilla starts fracking at Preston New Road (PNR) in Lancashire (pictured), it is being tripped up at every turn by unworkably low limits on seismic tremors set by nervous ministers who don’t dare now correct their mistake. Mainstream media treatment of this shambles is almost sympathetic: everyone can see Cuadrilla is being hamstrung by impracticable regulations. But while hacks hastily get to grips with “well integrity” and the awkward logarithmic scale by which earthquakes are measured, a radioactive elephant is sitting unremarked in a room just down the road. Only a dedicated handful of protesters mention an issue extending beyond small tremors 2,000 metres beneath a remote field. Huge trucks frequently rumble along Preston New Road itself, carrying highly toxic and corrosive uranium hexafluoride between Capenhurst in Cheshire and the Springfields nuclear facility five miles from the Cuadrilla site, to be converted into fuel for UK (and Russian) nuclear power plants and other uses. Springfields is probably a safe distance from the PNR fracking tremors, though the sheer number of extra trucks Cuadrilla brings on to the same country roads increases the risk of toxic traffic collisions.
Private Eye 16th Nov 2018 read more »