Campaigners last night warned the UK Government not to risk “playing ping pong” across the Atlantic with radioactive material. As revealed in the Press and Journal in December, nuclear waste from Dounreay is to be transported to the United States. About 1,540lb (700kg) of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) will be sent from the Caithness storage facility in the largest-ever consignment of its kind. In return, a different form of the element will be transferred to the European atomic energy agency Euratom for conversion to medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer. SNP MP Paul Monaghan branded the deal “morally reprehensible”, raising concerns about the possibility of flights carrying “highly toxic materials” out of Wick Airport. Campaigners also warned of the dangers of transporting the waste by sea, particularly in the context of the uncertainty over the future of the single remaining Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV). And the Westminster government was accused of being “at best misleading and at worst cynical” in presenting the proposal as helping in the fight against cancer. Highland Council leader Councillor Margaret Davidson said the development raised the risk of a “potentially catastrophic incident to unacceptable levels”. She added: “The Pentland Firth is notorious for the challenges it poses in terms of weather, tides and navigation. “There needs to be adequate protection in place to respond in the case of an incident whilst the waste is being transported.” Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, insisted nuclear waste should be dealt with as close as possible to where it was produced. He added: “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. The Scottish Greens’ Highlands and Islands Holyrood candidate John Finnie said there had to be better ways to fight cancer than “sending dangerous uranium on a 6,800-mile round trip”.
Press and Journal 1st April 2016 read more »
Herald 1st April 2016 read more »
Scotsman 31st March 2016 read more »
Campaign group Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (Hant), which has criticised “secret” cargo moves between Scrabster and Barrow, added its voice, claiming Cameron’s plan posed an enormous risk. Its chairman, Tor Justad, told The National: “This is unacceptable. It’s highly risky, either by air, sea or road. “They are taking huge risks of an accident or terror attack. Look at what happened in Belgium, where Daesh were thought to be targeting a nuclear plant. “It’s unnecessary and a total sham because there are plenty of medica l isotopes in Europe already.”
National 1st April 2016 read more »
Britain will announce deal to ship 700kg of nuclear waste to America.
Mirror 31st March 2016 read more »
A LEADING police officer has claimed the Highlands and Islands could be a soft option for Islamic terrorists planning attacks in the UK. The vast area has 10 airports, railway stations, ports attracting cruise liners with thousands of passengers, a nuclear establishment and the oil and gas industry, leaving no shortage of potential targets in an area that stretches from Unst to the Vatersay and from John O’ Groats to Glencoe. Chief Superintendent Julian Innes, the area’s divisional commander, had launched a campaign to increase the need for vigilance before last week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. The nuclear facility at Dounreay overlooking the Pentland Firth was also long seen as a possible target. So was the Ministry of Defence’s HMS Vulcan establishment next door where Royal Navy submarine nuclear propulsion plants were tested. Mr Innes said: “Dounreay is policed by the civil nuclear constabulary and Vulcan is managed by the MoD police. There is always an armed presence on these sites given the risk. Dounreay is in a decommissioning phase, but there is still nuclear material there and as long as there is, there will be an armed presence.”
Herald 30th March 2016 read more »
EFFORTS are being made to increase the use of the multimillion-pound railhead at Georgemas. That was the assurance given to Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) after a plea from member Tor Justad, who would like to see more freight being transported by rail. Such a move, he believes, would help safeguard the route and boost the local economy. Mr Justad wants more companies to use the facility and pointed out that talks were being held with supermarkets to deliver goods to Caithness by train. Tesco has been identified as a potential user while talks have been held with the Co-operative Group. Other possible freight opportunities include biomass, construction materials, wood, renewables and whisky.
John O Groat Journal 29th March 2016 read more »
Some 700 kg of British high-enriched uranium (HEU) will be transported to America in return for a form of the fuel that can be used in research reactors that create isotopes for life-saving diagnosis and treatment. The move will be announced by UK prime minister David Cameron today at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC. In return for the UK materials, the USA will send a quantity of its own HEU to Euratom in a form suitable for manufacturing into fuel and targets for use at a European research reactor that produces medical isotopes. The manufacturing will take place in France. The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “The swap will deliver real societal benefits – both in the UK and across Europe.” Mainstream nuclear power reactors run on low-enriched uranium in an entirely civilian fuel cycle, whereas high enriched uranium has been created by governments of countries such as the US and UK for use in small research reactors and fast reactors as well as military submarines and weapons. In 2013, the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) published papers on the options it was considering to manage the approximately 1000 kg of HEU stored at Dounreay, along with other experimental nuclear fuels collectively termed ‘exotics’. “None of the exotics held at Dounreay are considered to be waste,” it stated, explaining the HEU was in various forms – oxide powders, pellets and metal – and at various levels of enrichment. The HEU is unirradiated, which means it has a relatively low level of radioactivity. At that time, the option to “Send material overseas for reprocessing and utilise products” was seen as low probability but useful to maintain as a contingency because there were no specialised facilities to store HEU at Sellafield, where the NDA would have preferred to consolidate similar materials. Removing the fuels from Dounreay is a step towards lowering the site’s security classification and cost savings.
World Nuclear News 31st March 2016 read more »