Who wants new Coal AND new Nuclear in their stocking this Christmas?

Santa_Letter
Local leaders in Cumbria have been agitating for new nuclear  and new coal in Cumbria just a stones throw from the most hazardous place in Europe.  They must think that Sellafield just isn’t quite dangerous enough?
The following was sent to the national and local press – unpublished.
Dear Editor,
Extinction Rebellion is much in the news with climate campaigners travelling from Cumbria to London to ask for abstract “action on climate change”.  One fossil fuel plan is getting a free ride.   With Father Christmas-like largesse in a deprived area,  this plan has its feet well under the table in West Cumbria. This is even before any planning decision.  This plan has the potential to wipe out all our concerns about climate change.  A few dedicated but much ignored nuclear safety campaigners are truly bewildered at being the ones left leading a scrappy campaign against the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.
The new coal mine is proposed under the Irish Sea near Sellafield. Sellafield sits on the Lake District Boundary Fault.  The developers West Cumbria Mining have said the mine will extend to within 8 km of the existing Sellafield nuclear site and even nearer the proposed Moorside site

The plan is to extract 2.8 million tonnes every year during the lifespan of the proposed mine.  Assuming 40 years mining and an average of 2 million tonnes a year, that is a total production of 80 million tonnes!   But burning fossil fuel is not the only or even the most terrifying  concern here.

How reassured should we be by the statement provided to us by the Office for Nuclear Regulation that ” The nature of the proposed mine (pillar and room) is one that is not designed to collapse at any point in the future.. Even in the highly unlikely event of a collapse, the nature of any ensuing earth tremors would be limited…These levels would not be felt by persons on the Sellafield site and  would not disrupt structures, systems and components important to safety on the site.”
That faux “reassurance” is pulling the wool over people’s  eyes big time.  This is not an abstract thing.  It is real and it will be decided upon early in the New Year, in Kendal.
Yours sincerely,
Marianne Birkby
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

Correspondence with the Office for Nuclear Regulation below for info.

Date: December 6, 2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: RE: GE201808194 – Proposed new coal mine near Sellafield

Thank you for your e-mail. Please accept my sincerest apologies in the delay for our response which arose due to consultations between different internal teams. I hope the below assists you with your query.

I can confirm that the proposed development, including the onshore and offshore mining areas specified in the planning application document “D46_869_AO_001_Underground Mining – Onshore and Offshore Mining Areas”, lies outside the ONR’s consultation zone around the Sellafield nuclear licensed site.  ONR ask to be consulted on developments within the off-site emergency planning area around the Sellafield site, which extends approximately 6.1 – 7.4 km from the site centrepoint (see http://www.onr.org.uk/depz.htm for further details).  We would not expect Cumbria County Council to consult us regarding developments outside this zone, and I can confirm that we have not been consulted.

In response to your expressed concern that potential resulting earth tremors could cause a major nuclear incident at the Sellafield Site, I have consulted colleagues within the External Hazards specialism within ONR and they have provided the following advice:

The proposed new subsea coal mine at c 10km from Sellafield is not considered by ONR to be capable of generating ground motions that would affect safety at the Sellafield site.  ONR has consulted with the HSE Mines Inspectorate, the British Geological Survey and its own expert panel on seismic activity in the UK.  The nature of the proposed mine (pillar and room) is one that is not designed to collapse at any point in the future, unlike for example long wall mining.   Even in the highly unlikely event of a collapse, the nature of any ensuing earth tremors would be limited to very low levels.  These levels would not be felt by persons on the Sellafield site and  would not disrupt structures, systems and components important to safety on the site.

Once again, my apologies for the delay in our response.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me via contact@onr.gov.uk.

Kind regards,

Emma Lui

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3 thoughts on “Who wants new Coal AND new Nuclear in their stocking this Christmas?

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