Thursday, December 03, 2009

Local group questions CORWM on health issues

This is from Parents Concerned About Hinkley (Nuclear Power station) to the Comittee On Radioactive Waste Management

The only issue I have with it is the clause "have caused". It is safer to say "are associated with". Causation is the result of a long process of induction.

1 Dec 09

We wish to draw your attention to current problems with waste management at Hinkley Point A station in Somerset.

1. Magnox South’s contract does not require them to put public health safety first.

2. As a result of an unexpected build up of pressure inside the defuelled Hinkley A reactors, Magnox South installed vents into the reactor roofs. This is in breach of the 80-year reactor decay period.

3. Subsequently, radioactive gaseous discharges from these reactors have caused an epidemic in nearby coastal communities of heart attacks, brain tumours, strokes, skin cancers, kidney problems, sudden deaths. All of these illnesses have been identified among nuclear decommissioning workers:

International Journal of Epidemiology 4 March 2008.

Westlakes Scientific Consulting: Professor Steve Jones.

This large study of 65,000 men employed at Sellafield reprocessing plant between 1946 and 2002 found the risks of death from heart attacks and strokes increased with exposure to higher levels of radiation.

American Journal of Industrial Medicine, December 2007

Authors: Dr David B Richardson, University of North Carolina.

This study is of 19,000 employees of the Savannah River Site, South Carolina which has processed nuclear materials since the 1950s. It found excess leukaemia and pleural cancers among men and elevated rates of kidney and skin cancers in women, highlighting the range of potential occupational health effects among nuclear workers, especially diseases that typically take years to become apparent.

4. The two operational Hinkley B AGR reactors will close soon; what steps will CORWM take to prevent similar or even worse public health outcomes from their decommissioning and waste management?

5. Magnox South have another problem with Intermediate Level Waste on the Hinkley site. Again, as they do not have to take account of public health damage, they currently plan to use Cement Encapsulation to deal with waste from the existing ILW storage vaults. Cement Encapsulation will discharge 144 million cubic metres of radioactive gases into the atmosphere. The Polymer Encapsulation option would produce no discharges into the atmosphere but would cost more. Will CORWM insist on the use of Polymer Encapsulation? As the act of opening up the existing vaults will immediately result in radioactive discharges, why cannot the vaults be left closed for at least 100 years?

6. New nuclear build would require spent fuel to be stored on site for 160 years. This is not possible at Hinkley due to the limestone geology of the site. In view of Hinkley’s disastrous record of public health damage, there should be no new build, but if this should be allowed, the spent fuel will have to go off-site and there is not likely to be anywhere for it to go.


Sympathiser for new build said...

So why have the Environment Agency not prosecuted this violation of authorised discharges? Shame on them. You'd think they and the local Health Authority would be absolutely outraged at all this devastation to the environment, not to mention the health issues to so many people which you have firmly backed up with hard evidence that Hinkley is to blame.
Shame! Protest!

DocRichard said...

You would think so, wouldn't you? However, the Health Authority are in denial about the problem.

Causality is very difficult to "prove" in the absolute deductive sense of a=b, b=c, therefore a=c. Science has to rely on induction, as in if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. It could turn out to be a decoy. It took 20 years and 20,000 scientific papers to "prove" that smoking causes lung cancer. Leukaemia and radiation is the same problem.