Author Topic: "Nuclear waste could be buried underneath national parks"  (Read 1651 times)

richardh1905

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An Independent article that stopped me in my tracks this morning:


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nuclear-waste-national-parks-radioactive-aonb-energy-lake-district-beis-a8470376.html


We do have a responsibility towards future generations to safely dispose of the waste that we have created, but dumping it underground in a geologically unsuitable area is utterly irresponsible (I'm thinking of the Lake District in particular).

Lakeland Lorry

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Good to see that the mainstream media has picked up on this topic.   I said in the Zip Lakes watch discussion that I was surprised that nothing had appeared in the media about this.   In case you missed it this is what I wrote:


"The CumbriaTrust (http://cumbriatrust.org/) [/size]has been battling against the threat of the underground Nuclear Dump for years and I really don't understand why the proposal is not more widely known about.   I'd have thought that the idea of building an underground nuclear dump, the size of Carlisle, 12km below the Ennerdale Valley would have prompted more discussion in the Press and within the Media than it has done.   


It may also just be a coincidence that United Utilities are having their water extraction licence, which allows them to take water from Ennerdale Lake, withdrawn in 2022 to protect wildlife.  Which means that they are currently having to build a massive £300 million pipeline from Thirlmere to supply water to West Cumbria.

http://cumbriatrust.org/

http://www.lakestay.co.uk/mussels.html




April

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This was mentioned on the local news today on Breakfast (BBC North East and Cumbria). It is a horrifying idea.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

beefy

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We've got people trying to build zip wires, gondolas, and now they want to turn the place into a dump
It's outrageous  >:(

DRIP COFFINS  :D

richardh1905

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The attitude seems to be 'Anywhere, as long as it's not near Westminster'.

ninthace

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To be fair, the idea mooted was that national parks should not be excluded from consideration at the planning stage, not that national parks should be used.  Nor was any specific national park singled out for consideration.


I am not overly concerned with the idea of deep underground vaults for the storage of radioactive waste per se.  They certainly offer a more secure and safer solution than surface storage and an environmentally preferable solution to marine dumping.  My worries would be the viability of the store in the long term, out of sight must never be out of mind in this situation.  The bigger worry is the damage and disruption caused during the construction and storage phases, both of which are unsuitable activities for a national park in my opinion.
Solvitur Ambulando

Owen

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We do have a responsibility towards future generations to safely dispose of the waste that we have created, but dumping it underground in a geologically unsuitable area is utterly irresponsible (I'm thinking of the Lake District in particular).


We do have that responsibility but what are we doing about it? Leaving the waste piled up around the back of Sellafield.


That Uranium lay in the ground for millions of years slowly decaying and bothering nobody. We dug it up, refined it and enriched it. Now we've finished with it why not put it back where we found it, underground.


What's unsuitable about the Lake District? It's a very large pluton (a big blob of intrusive volcanic rock). It's impervious, it's not tectonicly active and there's little seismic movement.


You could put it under London except the rock there is porous and holds a lot of water, nearly all of London's water comes from underground Aquifers. Piling it up in the House of Commons might be a better idea.


The idea of the "Deep underground depository" is not to just dig a big hole and shove the waste in. A sealed vault will be made deep in the heart of the pluton. The condition of the vault will be remotely monitored.


I wouldn't say it the best option, maybe the least worse option.


There are other plutons in the UK, Glencoe, the Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Snowdonia.


If not the Lakes where?   

Lakeland Lorry

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What's unsuitable about the Lake District? It's a very large pluton (a big blob of intrusive volcanic rock). It's impervious, it's not tectonicly active and there's little seismic movement.


This is an extract from the Cumbria Trust website, concerning the Geology of Cumbria.   http://cumbriatrust.org/


Geology
The process known as radioactive decay of the nuclear waste can take hundreds of thousands of years, depending on the material.  During that time it is essential that the contents of the repository are isolated from the surface.  We need to ensure that gases and liquids can’t migrate upwards.  While it is accepted that the repository itself is likely to break down in a relatively short time, a good geological seal can trap the gases and liquids that escape, in much the same way that reservoirs of oil are formed.  This process of isolating nuclear waste from the surface in the long-term depends almost entirely on the geology (rock formations) in which the repository is constructed.
There are several types of geology which are potentially suitable, but increasingly, types of clay are being favoured by the international community.  Leaders in this field, France, Switzerland and Belgium have all chosen to build in clay. One of the key advantages of clays is that they tend to be self-sealing.  Over hundreds of thousands of years there may well be some movement causing fractures or faults, and hard rocks which may have started out as an effective geological seal, may no longer be so after this movement.
The most important aspect to consider when looking for a site to bury nuclear waste, is to find simple geology.  That means relatively flat-lying layers with very little faulting or fracturing and very similar over a wide area, so it is predictable.  It is also extremely important to have as little underground water flow as possible as this will accelerate the breakdown of the repository and carry parts of the waste away.  For this reason you should avoid hilly or mountainous areas as they drive water flow deep underground, in much the same way as a water tank in the loft of a house provides pressure.  Geologists call this a high hydraulic gradient. High levels of rainfall are also undesirable.
If you were to restrict the search area to England, as seems likely for political reasons, the idea of further confining it to Cumbria seems a strange choice.  Cumbria is not known for flat lying simply geology, quite the opposite in fact.  It is the most mountainous area with the highest rainfall in England.  Cumbria has highly complex geology with fast underground water flow.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to the government who spent over £400m investigating Cumbria’s geology for this purpose in the 1990s.  The conclusion reached by this Nirex inquiry was that the search should move to an area with simple geology, mostly found in the east and south of the country.
Since Nirex ruled out Cumbria for an underground nuclear waste, the proposals have changed to include burying High Level Waste and Spent Fuel, both of which generate heat, along with the less radioactive parts of the inventory.  This complicates matters considerably.  The British Geological Survey (BGS) have sought to play down the additional problems that this might cause, suggesting that these inventory components could be buried after perhaps 50 years of management on the surface.  They may benefit from taking a look at recent research carried out in by the University of Edinburgh (Andrew Fraser-Harris et al.) which suggests that the BGS are wrong to take this view and groundwater flow upwards can increase substantially in the presence of such a heat source.  If the inventory is to include heat generating components, the importance of good simple geology increases.
Given that Cumbrian geology was found to be unsuitable for geological disposal before heat generating waste was to be added, it stands to reason that this conclusion can only be strengthened by adding components which generate heat.

richardh1905

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We do have that responsibility but what are we doing about it? Leaving the waste piled up around the back of Sellafield.

….snip....

If not the Lakes where?



That is not an option either, Owen. I'm not sure what the answer is, but the geology of the Lake District has been proven to be unsuitable.

richardh1905

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The most recent government white paper that I can find on the subject is from 2014


Implementing Geological Disposal

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/332890/GDF_White_Paper_FINAL.pdf


Chapter 5 is of particular relevance.

Owen

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Re: "Nuclear waste could be buried underneath national parks"
« Reply #10 on: 20:27:01, 01/08/18 »
OMG, a little light reading. I think I'll leave that one till later. I'm not sure what the answer is either, I was playing devils advocate a bit. We've made ourselves a real monster and we should be prepared to lay it to rest. The trouble is the decisions are it the hands of politicians who don't see any votes in a nuclear dump.   

tonyk

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Re: "Nuclear waste could be buried underneath national parks"
« Reply #11 on: 10:47:13, 03/08/18 »
 Two more practical solutions.
 1.Make it a requirement to take nuclear waste when receiving overseas aid.It would be buried thousands of feet underground by British engineers so there would be little chance of terrorists trying to recover it.
 2.Do a deal with Donald Trump.In return for taking his chlorinated chickens he would agree to take all of our nuclear waste.


Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: "Nuclear waste could be buried underneath national parks"
« Reply #12 on: 17:40:49, 05/08/18 »
Their reasoning in Westminster, is that the waste will be stored securely away from highly populated areas, namely large cities.


Even though Sellafield Nuclear Power station, is not quite within the Lake District National Park, its close enough to pose a risk, if any existed.
Sellafield produces large amounts of toxic waste, and no doubt stores a fair amount of it as well.


The population on the West coast of Cumbria is tiny, hence the sighting of the station there in the first place, as well as its coastal location to aid cooling of the reactors.

Its almost inevitable that the waste will end up in the areas of small population density, Snowdonia or Cumbria.
Measures will be so tight in the methods used to store the waste, that it does not really matter which part of the country is used.

With the potential terrorist risk of storing it near a major city, its inevitable that areas with tiny population density will be chosen, and there's nothing new about that, as its been stored within a National Park for over fifty years, with no health issues.


Nobody in Gwynedd, with its two Power stations, Trawsfynydd and Wyllfa, complained about the presence of these contoversial buildings, so close to the small population.


They provided much needed employment, and huge amounts of electricity, which every one needs.

Trawsfynydd has had its Nuclear Power Station and associated waste since its opening in March 1965, and nobody has complained about the toxic waste being stored there, and its in one of the most picturesque locations in the whole of the Uk.

The waste has got to be stored away from densley populated areas, so its inevitable the National Parks will be used, as there are very few major towns or cities within a certain distance of  Cumbria or Gwynedd.


Anyway the associated risk is so tiny, that it does not matter where the stuff is stored, the safety precautions are so tight, that any health issues are almost non existent.

« Last Edit: 18:13:16, 05/08/18 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

ninthace

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Re: "Nuclear waste could be buried underneath national parks"
« Reply #13 on: 18:32:23, 05/08/18 »
I would take issue with one point you make.  Sellafield produces large amounts of toxic waste.  It produces some waste certainly and is used to store waste too, but large amounts?



https://nda.blog.gov.uk/2017/04/03/how-much-radioactive-waste-is-there/


Also do not confuse toxicity with radioactivty.


Another fact of physics is that storing radioactive materials next to non radioactive materials will not make the other materials radioactive. Radioactivity is caused by neutrons, radioactive materials don't emit neutrons in the normal course of events.  I could tell you how it is done but I don't want a visit from the men in black.  ;)
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richardh1905

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Re: "Nuclear waste could be buried underneath national parks"
« Reply #14 on: 16:52:05, 06/08/18 »
Radioactivity is caused by neutrons, radioactive materials don't emit neutrons in the normal course of events.  I could tell you how it is done but I don't want a visit from the men in black.  ;)



Americium 241 + Beryllium