Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quakes in the Lakes....

This morning there was an earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter Scale. It was centred around Ulveston, South Lakes, Cumbria..... That isn't that far from Sellafield's family of expanding nuclear power stations and also the proposed underground nuclear waste dump at Copeland.

Although only small, this quake shows that there is seismic activity in the area around the Lake District - last month for instance, they had another quake measuring 2.8.

Do you think we should we be building nuclear stations and storing nuclear waste anywhere near what is becoming a potential problem area? After all, the projected danger time for the most radioactive waste to be stored is around 100,000 years - that's 25 times the age of Stonehenge - and quite a bit longer than a 5 year parliamentary term...

Still, in their various cabinet guises, the Miliband boys have assured us that everything is A-OK and there's nowt to worry about....... So that's alright then?

Geology extra!
- The most stable rocks in the UK are in the Cairngorms, Scotland. They are also amongst the oldest in the world, vying for longevity with the Laurentian Shield rock formation in Canada.

Politics, eh. Don't you just love it!


William Gruff said...

It's no' oor nuclear waste, ye ken.

wildgoose said...

Your point about the Cairngorms is well made. Less water as well - we wouldn't want groundwater contamination would we, and the Lake District of course is famous for ... water.

But having said that, the scare stories about a lot of radioactive waste are just that - scare stories. Either something is very radioactive, in which case it isn't radioactive for long, (as it rapidly breaks down to smaller elements). Or it isn't very radioactive, in which case it has such a long half life that it lasts a long time - like the 100,000 years you mentioned.

Neither of these are really particularly dangerous. One needs only short term containment, the other has such a long half-life it isn't particularly dangerous.

The only ones to be concerned about are the ones in the middle, e.g. a half-life of a year or two. They are radioactive enough to be dangerous, and last longer than a few weeks. From memory, Strontium-90 is one such example, with the added disadvantage that it displaces calcium in peoples bones.

But the quantities of such materials produced is absolutely tiny.

And of course the final point is that a lot of this radioactive "waste" material can actually be re-used in certain kinds of reactors, meaning this so-called "waste" could actually be part of a strategic energy reserve for England. The Scots are fond of describing themselves as "energy-rich". Most of our Scottish Chancellor's half-billion investment in wind farms will go straight to Scotland - yet another hidden subsidy, this time using monies taken from raising the energy costs for heat and light on English people.

Personally, I'd rather be England relying on nuclear energy than Scotland hoping the wind keeps blowing.