Britain's nuclear waste has doubled since 1986 to 92 metric tons. Not to worry, in about 50 thousand years it will be neutralized
The world continues to accumulate nuclear waste that it cannot safely store. The waste keeps piling up and rendering certain areas of the earth uninhabitable for the next 1000 generations.
How we can continue to create these stockpiles of nuclear waste knowing that the earth is a violent place where in the end nature rules, is a mystery to me. What happens when one of these natural disasters strike one of these nuclear waste dumps?
It is interesting to me that we saddle our children with our debt and saddle our grandchildren with our social security without guilt and at the same time continue to create nuclear waste that reaches ten times farther into the future than our recorded history of the past.
Does anyone believe that in even a hundred years that we will know where all this waste is stored. Does anyone doubt that this deadly material is being dumped in the ocean at this very minute?
Does anything think that George Bush gives a damn?
Radioactive waste stored has doubled in 15 years
By Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent
21 November 2002
The amount of radioactive waste being stored in Britain has more than doubled in the past 15 years.
The Government has released figures showing that stocks of nuclear waste, including high-level waste that will remain hazardous for tens of thousands of years, increased from 45,580 cubic metres in 1986 to 92,103 cubic metres last year.
MPs, environmental campaigners and figures within the nuclear industry say the waste is a permanent hazard, which could result in a catastrophe if terrorists breached security.
Most reprocessed nuclear waste, often originating in Japan and Germany, is stored at Sellafield in Cumbria.
The UK has been creating nuclear waste for more than 50 years but ministers admit they do not know how much is stored in Britain because no central records were held before 1984.
A spokesman for Nirex, the body responsible for dealing with nuclear waste, said that the problem needed to be handled with greater urgency. Nirex has called for independence from its owners, the nuclear industry, to give it more legitimacy.
"This is going to be dangerous for a very, very long time and people need to face up to it," said a spokesman for Nirex. "Radioactive waste exists and society as a whole needs to take responsibility."
Michael Meacher, the Environment minister, released the figures on stored waste in a letter to Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman. "I am afraid that no central records are held of the wastes in store for the period 1973 to 1984," Mr Meacher said in his letter.
Mr Baker said he was shocked by the increase and accused the Government of a "cavalier and irresponsible approach" to a problem that will have "major implications for future generations".
He said: "At the present time it's hardly sensible to be storing a huge mountain of nuclear waste when the world situation is as volatile as it is."
British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) said that one reason for the big rise in stored waste was the opening of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) at Sellafield in the early Nineties. It insisted that the storage facilities were completely safe "for decades to come.
"When we reprocess we are left with radioactive material, which we can't do anything with. It's extremely radioactive. It is stored safely. The high-level waste we turn into a glass form, which is passive," said a BNFL spokesman.
"We have reprocessed 50,000 tons at Sellafield since the mid-Sixties."
Much of the waste at Sellafield is stored in metal drums, which are surrounded by concrete. These are put in concrete-lined trenches that are then landfilled.
But environmentalists believe the radioactive material still poses a threat and that it can cause cancer.
"We believe the waste isn't safely stored because it hasn't been treated and is in a raw form that could explode or catch fire if it is hit in a terrorist incident," said Rachel Western, nuclear researcher at Friends of the Earth.
The Government is planning to set up an interdependent body to help to resolve the problem of how to deal with Britain's growing radioactive waste stockpiles.
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