The truth about Sellafield straight from the seagull’s beak


It appears when you listen to politicians and others in conversation that we are all pro-nuclear energy these days.

Well it’s so clean isn’t it.

No nasty smoke, no digging up the earth or ruining the landscape with those horrid oil mines.

Also, we don’t really like those elegant rows of modernist windmills that line our hilltops or marine horizons and we don’t have much faith in solar energy in this country where the sun don’t always shine.

So, quietly but surely, we the silent, not too bothered about voting, population of these isles have gone round to the nuclear option and dreams of cheap and clean electricity one day running all our computer games and even our cars.

So we turn a blind eye, as most of us have for decades now on that monument to the nuclear future, Sellafield on the beautiful Cumbrian coastline, Britain’s high-level nuclear waste storage site run by the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

It’s not a good idea to think about Cumbrian seagulls these days though if you want to sleep peacefully in your nuclear-powered future.

As with many con-tricks, it is often the simplest of things that gives the tricksters away.

Take those Cumbrian seagulls. All they are doing is carrying on in their seagull way – flying around over Europe’s most contaminated industrial site and then settling on one of those nice ponds inside the 645 acres of Sellafield’s heavily fenced off territory. Apparently this land has become a virtual wildlife reserve, “overrun” in some people’s eyes by stray carts, mice and, yes seagulls.

Those small Olympic pool-sized lakes that the seagulls enjoy swimming on are in fact holding ponds and the theory is that the water is a natural barrier to the metal boxes of uranium and plutonium kept underneath.

There is not problem in theory of course unless anything went wrong.

So far in the last ten years there have only been seven safety breaches there of as the chilling phrase goes “actual consequence.” So we should be OK, I guess.

Well Sellafield’s personable media relations manager was explaining the insignificance of this plague of seagulls. He tells us that there are 350 animal carcasses being stored in the site’s industrial freezers because under the rules caracasses found on the site are not allowed to decay naturally because they are considered “putrescent nuclear waste.”

You see! It is all perfectly safe in there, my ass! I know you can tell me that these are just sensible precautions but, come on, does that sound safe and clean to you?

I have never understood how nuclear power could ever be considered safe until we know how to get rid of his waste products. Sellafield has about 40,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste on this site, some of it there since the 1950s and which will not be considered safe for hundreds of thousands of years. How reassuring is that?

Nuclear power, let’s remember Chernobyl here, is just another catastrophe waiting to happen.

So next time you throw some bread to some friendly seagulls just think that you are possibly feeding a future piece of putrescent nuclear waste and then look a bit closer to what the major political parties now all seem to agree on. Namely that we have no alternative to our future power supplies than nuclear energy.

Think again, I humbly suggest.

4 Comments

  1. The "funny" thing about this nuclear energy is, they kept telling us for decades it is all clean and safe – if they had spent as much money and brain power over all that time for alternative energy we might be much farther with it. Now of course it is almost too late to turn it all around and we got stuck with this hazardous stuff. This is all again short term thinking and irresponsible regarding future generations. But hell, let our kids and grandkids clean up our crap. There is how money and wealth were made for the last decades.

  2. Yes Marie, agreed…I am no physicist but from what I have read, if all that wasted money had been put into nuclear fusion, we could have been way ahead now on clean energy with no waste at all.

    That money was there after-all.

  3. They haven't even begun to clear up the awful mess. They never will clear it up. Having seen the disgrace that is Sellafield I dread to think what all the other nuclear sites are like, in this country and everywhere else. You are so right – nuclear is no answer at all. They are playing with things they cannot possibly control or deal with. And now Fukushima – no solution to that as of November 2013, and there will be none. Nothing will return all that hideous radiation back to containment. The majority of the human race is a plague on the earth and would probably destroy it and themselves if allowed to.

  4. Thanks Ben, i wish you didn't agree with me or me with you but, one day, maybe, our rulers will get the point.

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