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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Millions for Dounreay's nuclear waste?

MANY millions of pounds might flow into Copeland in exchange for bringing a lot more “exotic” radioactive material to Sellafield.

Copeland Council has declined to speculate on any potential figures, but others believe “tens of millions of pounds” is the potential size of a community benefits package.

The government has decided that highly radioactive spent fuel can be moved from Dounreay site to Sellafield after the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority concluded there was a “clear and compelling” case for it.

Copeland Council feels that “a reasonable benefits package” has to be considered but as yet there is only speculation about what the size of it might be.

“Exotic” waste is classed as that which is a legacy from previous nuclear industry activity.

The NDA already puts £1.5 million a year into the Copeland Community Fund for storing low-level waste at the LLWR site, Drigg. The radioactive content of the Dounreay material is far higher and would be reprocessed at Sellafield.

The issue has been raised through Copeland Council’s own Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board. After its meeting last Thursday, deputy chairman David Moore said: “If Sellafield is going to ‘host’ these materials then we want to put a marker in the sand, something put in place to provide benefits for our community.

“I have heard sums, tens of millions of pounds, of money being bandied about. Because bringing in this stuff would increase hazards at Sellafield, the risk for our communities also rises in proportion so there has to be a benefit to compensate.

“Savings of moving the material from Dounreay are said to be hundreds of millions, so it is not unreasonable to be thinking in terms of tens of millions for Copeland. Our communities have to be comfortable about it all. We need something signed and sealed before delivery.”

A national consultation on the NDA’s proposal to transport the Dounreay materials has just finished but a more local consultation is being sought to examine how communities would be affected. Sellafield is the NDA’s preferred option for moving 44 tons of radioactive spent fuel for reprocessing. The material would be carried by rail over a five-year period.

In its response to consultations on Dounreay “credible options”, Copeland stressed that “prospective community benefit contributions” have to be firmly established.

It goes on: “Before the NDA engages with planning authorities to pursue a preferred strategy, more recognition needs to be given to the burden that the Copeland community carries as these materials (with associated potential safety security and environmental issues) are left for the local community to manage.

“Benefits to the community would have to be provided through some form of community benefit contribution which could be partially funded through the saving achieved through reduced security arrangements at Dounreay.”

According to a credible options analysis, Sellafield already had similar materials so there would be no meaningful change in the site’s hazard profile. But the response declares: “There is no consideration of the socio-economic impact on the local community as the radioactive material inventory at Sellafield continues to rise.”

Officially infrastructure and security savings is put at hundreds of millions of pounds but a council report to its Nuclear and Energy Board claims there has been not enough understanding of the issues and negative perception of transferring the waste.

“The issue of costs shows a saving for the proposed move to the Sellafield option with no mention of re-distributing these savings to the area where the burden is being displaced too.”

Have your say

Well said disgruntledloyalworker, You have hit the nail right on the head. Many people work at Sellafield but as you so rightly point out the company has one major fault - it is obsessed with paying people in non jobs large over the top wages whilst the people who do the work the people who have levels of responsibility the bread and butter workers get paid little in comparison. Only recently the company has invented so called work week managers, lo and behold at a pay grade 8. Pay grade 8! I ask you, who on that site is thinking up these wages for these jobs? In our building we have shift team managers, their level of responsibility is, I'd say, at the highest level on site. Not only do they sit a very long-winded dually authorised persons interview, sometimes lasting many hours, they also prevent the plant from destroying itself, prevent the plant from breaking, protect the workforce, protect the environment, and protect the company's reputation. Their knowledge is incredible - if something goes wrong it will be there heads that roll. Work week managers organise the work, makes sure some people are sticking to the plan and gee up the planner to make sure something gets done on time. The level of responsibility compared to the shift team manager is ZERO. Yet someone in their great wisdom has decided that this role is worthy of a pay grade 8, the same as the shift team manager, There is something very fishy about how grades are dished out on that site, its as nearly as good as these people who call themselves OPEX engineers yet don't have any form of engineering qualification. The whole site is devoid of anyone that can justify why people in jobs of no responsibility get paid huge wages compared to the people with responsibility. If you work in the management block, it's your mission to pester your boss until you get the next grade up land a job in what I'd call the core workforce then you're stuffed. Try and approach HR about it and your shot down in flames And the real point to this whole story why is it that every councillor business person in this county thinks that Sellafield owes the county money just because its taking some stuff from another part of the country - funny that isn't it, Sellafield taking fuel and waste from another part of the country. It's been doing it for years, it's called reprocessing. So why now do all these people think that to take Dounreay's fuel and some waste Copeland is entitled to millions of pounds? These people aren't interested in Sellafield only the amount of money it can suck out of the place

Posted by truthfullman on 9 April 2012 at 14:32

Absolute makes me sick to the stomach that we talk about Sellafield and all it's millions! Well from the outside that maybe so but from the inside it's an entirely different story! I work in the Changing rooms and me and my colleagues are the lowest paid on site, we hold massive responsibilities and time after time we just get sent from pillow to post, out hourly wage not including shift allowance is £7.13!!! I know tesco checkout girls that get more than that! And to run salt in to more deeper wounds they REFUSE to pay our already banked overtime! They offer us food vouchers I mean for Christ sake this is a multi billion pound company! Some of us Changeroom staff are living below the poverty line! It's system that needs a complete make over, we work with colleagues that are in different bands but make thousands more! I think our only option is to follow mitie cleaning and go on strike! Thanks.

Posted by Disgruntledloyalworker on 8 April 2012 at 20:00

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