Stop Hinkley | 13.01.2011 12:22
In a report by Chris Busby and Cecily Collingridge for Green Audit, analysis is presented showing the presence of enriched uranium contamination on the site proposed for the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley C.
The authors draw attention to the importance of this discovery for human health. Earlier studies found increased rates of child and adult leukemia, breast and other cancers, and infant mortality in Burnham-on-Sea downwind of the Hinkley Point site. Studies worldwide have found excess child leukemia near many nuclear sites. Prof Busby, who is Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) said "These data are a revelation. Maybe it is Enriched Uranium that is the source of these health effects. Curiously, Uranium is not routinely measured near nuclear power station despite the fact that it is the fuel. We know from United Nations publications that these power stations release large amounts of radionuclides, including uranium, to the environment. What this shows is that it does not harmlessly disperse, but it is in the air nearby to be inhaled by people who live there." Cecily Collingridge, who lives nearby, and whose curiosity lead to the study, said "The first thing we must do is stop all work on the site. If this contamination becomes airborne, workers and local people can inhale atomic reactor fuel particles. the origin of the enriched urnaium must be independently investigated with more sampling and proper analysis."
Examining gamma spectroscopy radioactivity data tables that formed part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) supplied by developers EDF Energy, it was possible to show that the 2 km-squared site cotained approximately 10 tonnes of enriched uranium reactor fuel. Uranium levels in soil were up to 4 times higher that average levels expected in the area as defined by Environment Agency reports. Isotopic ratios for the two key components, U238 and U235, which should not naturally deviate from the value of 21.3, were found to be as low as 12.5, signalling enriched uranium reactor fuel. Both the concentration and the activity ratio trends with sample depth were significant, showing that the excess enriched uranium was on the surface and had been deposited from the air. Deep samples showed only much lower concentrations of natural uranium. There also appeared to be a trend with distance from the sea; Hinkley Point is built on the coast.
Original article on IMC Bristol: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/702818