Nuclear plant managers let radioactive particles flow into sea
NUCLEAR plant operators yesterday admitted illegally dumping radioactive waste and releasing nuclear fuel particles into the sea more than 40 years ago.
The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) pleaded guilty to four charges under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960.
The breaches happened at the Dounreay site in Caithness.
Managers admitted a single charge of disposing of radioactive waste at a landfill site at the Scottish plant between 1963 and 1975.
They also pleaded guilty to three charges of allowing nuclear fuel particles to be released through drains into the Pentland Firth. This took place between 1963 and 1984.
The charges were brought against UKAEA after it was reported to the procurator-fiscal following an investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Wick Sheriff Court heard yesterday that fuel fragments which were supposed to be put in a storage shaft had been placed in 46,000 cubic metres of landfill.
The error came to light in July 1999 during work at the site.
Fiscal Alasdair MacDonald said six radioactive particles were removed from the landfill and two from the coast.
He added that such solid radioactive waste could only have legally been disposed of in a low-level pit.
Between December 1963 and December 1984, nuclear particles entered the sea from a drain at the site.
Widow fights for justice 25 years after suicide of her RAF husband
Makes one wonder what the real truth is in the Indian Point Lessard murder and suicide earlier this year.
IT TOOK Eric Denson three attempts before he managed to kill himself, aged 44. In truth, Squadron Leader Denson had been as good as dead since the Royal Airforce made him fly his Canberra aircraft through a nuclear mushroom cloud 18 years earlier. It was simply a matter of time.
Within hours of landing on Christmas Island, he had started vomiting; soon he had developed skin and stomach problems. It was in his head, however, that the real damage was done. Sqdn Ldr Denson was a changed man, trapped inside his own mind and prey to bouts of depression which would haunt him for the rest of his truncated life.
"The noise was deafening, like 1000 horses thundering towards you" ~ KEN McGINLEY
Now his widow, Shirley, wants the Ministry of Defence to admit that what happened that day over a tiny coral atoll in the Indian Ocean led directly to her husband’s death.
How Dounreay's nuclear dream turned sour
IT IS going to cost more than £4 billion in an operation lasting 60 years to decommission Dounreay. The land around the site at Caithness could remain out of bounds for more than 300 years.
But more pressing is the persistent threat to the health of local people and workers, who have been exposed to a catalogue of near disasters since work started on the experimental reactor in March 1955.
The plant was seen as a Godsend at a time when the north needed jobs and the dangers of the nuclear age were played down in favour of the potential benefits.
Chernobyl Shell Close To Collapse
TOM PARFIT IN MOSCOW
THE concrete shell surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear reactor is in danger of collapsing, Russia’s atomic energy minister claimed yesterday.
Alexander Rumyantsev told a Russian newspaper he feared the damaged reactor might leak radiation.
"The collapse of the current sarcophagus is a real danger," he said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "We can’t brush this aside."
Russia’s NTV network stressed "the second Chernobyl disaster would be no less in scale than the first one". If the protective shell crumbled "radioactive dust would go into the air, pushing the cancer rate up".
The warnings came as the 17th anniversary of the nuclear disaster approaches. On 26 April, 1986, the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear complex in northern Ukraine exploded and caught fire, spewing a radioactive cloud that drifted across Europe.
Nuclear Fuel Train Derails
A TRAIN carrying radioactive waste derailed in a naval dockyard, it emerged today. An investigation has been launched after the train pulling a container of nuclear submarine fuel derailed in Devonport, Plymouth, on Monday. The container remained on the tracks.
Security lapses at nuclear plants spark terror fears
JAMES KIRKUP POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
A LITANY of security failures at British nuclear sites has been revealed by government investigators, raising fears of a terrorist attack. The incidents, which even included a burglary, were uncovered by the Office for Civil Nuclear Safety (OCNS), an arm of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. The watchdog’s reports are not normally published, but have come to light because of the Freedom of Information Act.
During the 12 months ending April 2004, the agency recorded more than 40 security breaches, including eight incidents it classified as "failures of security leading to unacceptable or undesirable consequences".
Serious UK nuclear leak 'went unnoticed for nine months'
Remind anyone of Indian Point?
TENS of thousands of litres of highly radioactive liquid has been leaking unnoticed at the UK's nuclear reprocessing plant for nine months, it was revealed yesterday.
The leak is being described as the worst nuclear accident in Britain for 13 years and could threaten the future of the Thorp plant, at Sellafield in Cumbria, where the leak was discovered on 19 April.
The International Atomic Energy Authority has admitted that it would classify the accident as "serious".
It was only discovered that liquid was leaking last month, but by that time 83,000 litres of radioactive fuel, enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, had already been accidentally discharged.
British Nuclear Group, which runs the plant, said workers had failed to respond to indicators that would have warned since last August that there was a leak. The company has ordered an urgent review to check that there are not any other potential leaks, and is also warning against staff complacency.
Leak raises nuclear power doubts
GERRI PEEV POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
A LEAK of nuclear fluid at the Sellafield plant has cast uncertainty over the future direction of nuclear power, a senior Cabinet minister has said.
The disclosure comes as Sellafield's managing director, Barry Snelson, yesterday admitted that the leak of 83,000 litres of spent radioactive fuel at the site's Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) could close that part of the Cumbria complex for up to eight months.
Fake nuclear disaster at barracks tests emergency crews' response
MORE than 1000 emergency service workers took part in an exercise today simulating a full-scale nuclear emergency in Edinburgh.
The biggest exercise of its kind ever staged in the Capital saw crews dealing with the imaginary aftermath of an engine falling from a plane as it took off from Edinburgh Airport.
In the scenario played out in Exercise Senator, the falling engine hits a convoy carrying nuclear weapons on the A720 dual carriageway - and then a fuel tanker crashes into the convoy.
Nuclear Experiment Held Beneath US Desert
SCIENTISTS from the US and Britain performed an underground nuclear experiment, short of a nuclear blast, in Nevada, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.
It involved detonating explosives around radioactive material in a vault about 1,000 feet below ground at a remote part of the desert testing range 85 miles north-west of Las Vegas.
No radioactivity was released, said Nancy Tufano, the spokeswoman for Bechtel Nevada, a contractor at the nuclear security administration in Las Vegas.
Report reveals nuclear plant picture scares
As in terrorist making plans?
PEOPLE taking photographs outside Torness Power Station made up two of 18 security incidents reported at the Dunbar nuclear plant in the last three years.
Details released by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security today revealed there have been two incidents that involved individuals taking photographs from outside the nuclear plant and two incidents relating to security guard staffing levels since March, 2003.
Atomic issues worry Sweden
SWEDISH nuclear authorities called an emergency meeting today after shutting down two reactors at a plant in the south-east of the country.
The Oskarshamn plant, about 150 miles south of Stockholm, shut the reactors late yesterday after the company running the plant reported that "safety there could not be guaranteed."
The decision followed a safety scare last week at another Swedish nuclear plant in Forsmark.
Deal reached on atomic clear-up
Gives us an idea of what to expect after nuclear incident at Indian Point.
SPAIN and the US have reached an agreement to clean up radioactivity in the Spanish farming village of Palomares, on Spain's south-east tip, 40 years after two US atomic bombs fell in the area after a mid-air collision.
The agreement to clean the area was reached at a meeting mid-September between the US Department of Energy and Spain's CIEMAT, the national Centre for Energy and Environment Investigation, the leading Madrid daily El Pais reported.
Chernobyl deaths 'up to 66,000'
Vital, Safe, Secure
THE long-term effects of the Chernobyl disaster have been severely underestimated with a new study estimating that the nuclear explosion could eventually cause up to 66,000 deaths from cancer - 15 times more than the formal figures released last September.
Nearly 20 years after the world's worst industrial accident, the report suggests the impact of the 1986 nuclear disaster on the UK and the rest of the world may never be fully realised.
The Other Report on Chernobyl, otherwise known as Torch, comes ahead of this Wednesday's anniversary. It was co-written by Dr Ian Fairlie and Dr David Sumner.
Probe after reporter plants fake bomb on nuclear train
AN investigation was under way today after a newspaper reporter planted a fake bomb on a train carrying nuclear waste.
The journalist from the Daily Mirror claimed he had wandered up to the unattended wagons at a north west London depot.
And the paper claimed a terrorist could have blown up the waste, sparking a vast toxic cloud that would have killed hundreds.
What price now for nuclear policy?
PETER MACMAHON SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT EDITOR
Hunterston B plant to close for repairs amid fears over cracks
Jack McConnell's nuclear strategy suffers serious blow
British Energy sees £800m wiped off shares
Key quote "It is OK for Mr McConnell and others to say that you can run these stations for ten years more, but when there are safety concerns, they have to be shut down and looked at." - Professor Roger Crofts
Story in full JACK McConnell's hopes that he could rely on the extension of the lives of Scotland's ageing nuclear reactors - and avoid sanctioning the building of new nuclear power stations - suffered a major setback last night.
Serious cracks were found in boiler pipes at the Hinkley Point plant in Somerset, dealing a blow to the First Minister's plan to step up investment in renewable energy while the lives of existing nuclear plants were extended.
British Energy, which produces a fifth of UK electricity, was forced to admit the existence of the faults, which were uncovered after similar problems were revealed at the station's sister plant at Hunterston, Ayrshire, earlier this year.
It was also forced to announce it was investigating "a significant leak" in an underground cast-iron pipe in the cooling-water systems at its nuclear station at Hartlepool.
Asked about any risks to public safety, a spokesman said the boiler tubes were cracked and not leaking, and that water leaking from the pipes in Hartlepool was "non nuclear".
Radioactive waste thrown into skip and buried on landfill site
RADIOACTIVE waste from Torness Power Station was thrown out with ordinary rubbish in a skip and sent to a Lothian dump.
A report into the blunder, released to the Evening News under freedom of information laws, revealed that workers at the nuclear plant failed even to check if the waste was radioactive before throwing it out.
It was then taken to a landfill site in Dunbar to be buried alongside normal household waste.
In a report into the incident in August 2003, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said there was a "fundamental lack of control" at the station and ordered an immediate safety review.