As the dust settled on MRWS, some of us wondered if we had been fighting the wrong battle – rather than worry about a potential threat some time in the future, should we be worrying about a real threat now, namely the “significant risks to people and the environment” posed by the poor state of the facilities at Sellafield today?
As a result of this, we launched a petition. Uniquely, it attracted support right across the board, from Sellafield workers to anti-nuclear campaigners. It hit the 900 signature mark last night, which seemed a good reason to send it off to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:
Ed, 900 people have signed the attached petition, asking you to listen to the National Audit Office, and commit to eliminating the ‘intolerable risk’ posed today by hazardous waste stored in run-down buildings at the Sellafield nuclear plant.
You will be aware of the report’s findings: “Some of the older facilities at Sellafield containing highly hazardous radioactive waste have deteriorated so much that their contents pose significant risks to people and the environment.”
The signatories accept that the waste has already been created, and it has to be kept safe until a proper solution is in place for dealing with it. West Cumbria urgently needs government investment to enable it to safeguard this material on behalf of the whole of the UK. What’s more, the problem is growing – there’s 44 tonnes more waste currently being moved down from Dounreay currently, with another 30 tonnes in the pipeline.
The signatories call on you to ensure the Government commits to the investment to make Sellafield safe. This is one item of expenditure that simply must not be cut back. We also believe your Department should order the NDA to stop shipping waste into Sellafield, until the facilities are given a clean bill of health by the NAO.
We look forward to your response
I have also asked the six members of the All Party Committee of Cumbrian MPs (Tony Cunningham, Tim Farron, Jamie Reed, John Stevenson, Rory Stewart, and John Woodcock) to support this appeal on behalf of their constituents. It will also be interesting to ask at Council what steps the new administration at are taking as a result of the Cabinet decision made on 30th January:
RESOLVED that Cabinet decide … to encourage the Government to make the necessary investment to improve surface storage facilities at Sellafield, (taking account of the findings of the National Audit Officereport HC 630 dated 7 November 2012)