Letter: We must stop all shipments of hazardous spent fuel from Dounreay. YOUR article on Monday (“Freight train carrying hazardous spent nuclear fuel runs stop sign” should concern everyone in Scotland. The main reason that this incident should be of concern is that it is one of a number of such incidents involving the movement of nuclear spent fuel and waste from Dounreay to Sellafield. The nuclear materials being removed from Dounreay as part of decommissioning are highly radioactive and moving them from a secure site by sea and rail creates unacceptable risks. Since these movements began accidents have included a derailing at Barrow and the breakdown of a ship in the Pentland Firth in October 2014 carrying nuclear waste from Dounreay to Antwerp – it took 15 hours for an Emergency Towing Vessel to reach the ship and personnel on an oil rig had to be evacuated as there was a likelihood of a catastrophic collision. In addition, since 2017 Highly Enriched Uranium has been flown from Wick Airport to the USA via RAF Lossiemouth as part of a Barack Obama-David Cameron nuclear deal. The reason the USAF transport planes have to fly to Lossiemouth is to refuel as the runway at Wick is 1,000ft too short for the plane to take off with a full load of fuel despite the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority spending £8 million to upgrade it. These are examples of incidents which are reported – because of the secrecy of the nuclear industry we have no idea how many incidents go unreported. The campaign group Hant (Highland Against Nuclear Transport) was formed in 2013 with the aim of stopping all shipments from Dounreay by sea, rail and now air. Hant’s position is that until a safe way is found to store nuclear waste it should be stored above ground on the sites where it has been produced and be under constant security and monitoring. This was one of the options considered for Dounreay but was rejected on cost grounds although the actual savings were never quantified. So the waste is being transported to the most toxic nuclear site in Europe until a Deep Underground Repository is built – it has to last at least 100,000 years and may never be built. As a Highland-based small group with limited resources we have managed to engage MEPs, UK Ministers, MPs, Scottish ministers, MSPs and local politicians as well as holding public meetings and events in many parts of the Highlands. Hant has also provided inputs to conferences run by CND, Nuclear Free Local Authorities and the Scottish Green Party and has strong links with campaign groups in the rest of the UK, US and world-wide. Our aims have been highlighted in media coverage throughout Scotland and beyond. We would encourage anyone with concerns about this issue to look at our website hant.co.uk or Highlands Against Nuclear Transport on Facebook. We have more than 300 supporters and would welcome more and are running a petition which we plan to send to the UK and Scottish Parliaments calling for a halt to this needless and risky activity.
Herald 18th July 2018 read more »
THE rail operator responsible for transporting nuclear waste from Dounreay through the strath has sought to reassure residents after one of its trains ran a ‘stop’ signal at Kingussie. The service – carrying spent nuclear fuel to Sellafield – was forced to wait for nearly two hours at the location while safety checks were carried out. Direct Rail Services said that there was never at any time a risk of the train being involved in a collision. But Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry (SNP) said it was unthinkable to imagine what could have occurred.
Strathspey Herald 19th July 2018 read more »