|Looking across to Oldbury and Berkeley|
Here's an update from local Green Party member Angela Paine on Oldbury:
Nuclear Decommissioning Agency's current policy is
- To transport spent (and unspent) fuel rods to Sellafield
- To transport Fuel Element debris to Hinkley Point for treatment in a dissolution plant to be built there.
- To transfer packaged intermediate waste to Berkley
The transport of spent fuel rods to Sellafield involves lowering the fuel rods into a cooling pond, transferring them into white, metal containers, which are placed onto lorries that trundle through the Gloucestershire countryside to Cheltenham, where they are transferred onto nuclear trains to be transported to Sellafield. Spent fuel rods from Hinkley are put onto trains at Bridgewater and travel through Bristol to Cheltenham. The fact that this has been happening for years does not in any way make it less hazardous. Spent fuel rods are highly radioactive and the trains travel through densely populated areas.
I am deeply concerned about the potential hazards involved in transferring the graphite core of the Oldbury reactors, since it is not only highly radioactive, but also crumbly and dusty. There is no good reason why it should be removed from the old nuclear power plant.
I am also concerned about the interim storage facility at Berkley, designed and built to accommodate 1000 ductile cast iron containers for intermediate level waste. Now Oldbury Intermediate level waste will be added. There might not be room for all of it.
There was damage to the cooling system at Oldbury during last winter's storms. Luckily the reactor had been shut down. This does not, however, auger well for any future nuclear plant.