New DRS Train Engine Names, Or Prometheus 88 ?

DRS is best know as the wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which hauls radioactive waste along the British railways network.

Direct Rail Services [ DRS ] are getting new class 88 engines.

The current issue of the Railway Magazine lists some of the names which these new engines are being given.

They include Genesis, Pandora, and Prometheus.

Prometheus was the Greek god who who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind.

There is another reason why this name is so apt: –

The Promethus Crisis.

That is the title of a 1976 novel by Thomas N. Scortia, & Frank M. Robinson, which is all about a melt down in a nukiller reactor.

Radioactive Toshing

Toshing

The go ahead has just been given to store radioactive sludge, sand,  metal,  and  gravel at Bradwell.

This radioactive tosh will come from the Dungeness & Sizewell reactors.

It will be taken by Road to Bradwell from the railway station at Southminster.

Which Rail Routes ?

What this news story does not mention is which routes this waste will be transported to Southminster.

Yet we can work out some of this from the routes upon which used nukiller fuel rods are transported to Sellafield.

Sizewell.

All the used fuel rods from Sizewell are transported by road to Saxmunden, & then south via Shenfield.

There is a line from Shenfield to Southminster.

So that should be the logical route which it will take.

Dungeness.

All the used fuel rods from Dungeness are taken by train via Appledore, then on via Ashford International to Crewe, and so on to Sellafield.

Now comes the interesting questions.

Which route will be used to carry this waste ?

The line to Shenfield goes via Stratford, but which route will be used from Ashford to Stratford ?

&

At which point will it cross the Thames ?

What kind of containers ?

Of course we do not know exactly what levels of radioactivity this waste will be emitting, or Just how much of it there will be.

So we can only speculate about just which kind of containers it will be transported in, and just how many months or years it will take.

How long will it be stored ?

The other unspoken question is just how long it is intended to store this muck at Bradwell.

Could it be that this will become the back door way of creating a long term Low and intermediate level radioactive waste depositary for the UK ?

Though that will not work, as Bradwell, Dungeness, and Sizewell are going to be effected by rising sea levels.

Information Needed – Decommissioning The Railway Waste Flasks

Being an effective campaigner and activist means reading a lot of background reports upon a very wide range of issues.

Yet when it comes down to developing that work it is another matter, as one can be very hard pressed to find the info one needs.

At present I’m looking for any information about how long the flasks in which nukiller waste are transported upon our railways have been in use.

More importantly – I want to find out anything about how they are decommissioned, or might be decommission in the future.

All ideas and references about this would be most welcome.

Currently Working On

It seems like every day this month there has been a lot to do.

Here is what I’m now focusing upon right now.

On Friday July 15th I’ll be in Cumbria to oppose the expansion of the Drigg Nukiller Waste Dump.

While on Saturday July 23rd I’ll be outside of the DRS Depot at Crewe.  This is a part of the Co-ordinated Nukiller Waste Train Protests which are going on that day

In between there are protests about Trident which need to be made.

Atomic Issues.

A brief list of some of the issues which various campaigning groups are currently working on, or which relate to these concerns.

New Build.

– Moorside.

– Hinkley.

– Wylfa.

– Sizewell.

– Bradwell.

Oldbury

– EDF.

– NuGen.

– Horizon (now 100% Hitachi owned)

Waste processing and storage.

– Sellafield [ Windscale ].

– New proposals for the medium and long term storage of radioactive waste.

– Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride [ Hex ].

Civil Liberties and Secrecy.

– The Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

– Official Secrecy.

Transport.

– Nukiller Waste trains

– DRS [ Direct Rail Services ] which have depots at Crewe and Carlisle.

– Advance Uranium Asset Management Ltd, which transports Hex by Road & Sea.

Sea Transport.

– James Fisher and Sons – Barrow.

– Bibby – Liverpool.

– ACL – Liverpool.

Uranium Mining.

– RTZ.

– BHP Billiton.

– Indigenous peoples and land rights.

– Mining Pollution.

Uranium Enrichment, and Fuel Fabrication.

– URENCO.

– Capenhurst.

– Springfields.

Rising Tides and the danger of existing plants being flooded.

– Dungeness.

– Hinkley.

– Heysham.

– Sizewell.

Ongoing Safety and Cost Issues.

– All of the above.

– DECC.

Supporting Campaigns in Other Countries.

– Japan.

– India.

– The USA.

– Australia.

– Canada.

– France.

Giving ‘One 2 One’ Background Briefings To Activists.

I’ve recently put together a 200 page binder file of notes, maps, illustrations, graphics, and photos, which cover all the main aspects of the nukiller power industry.

Amongst other things there is a lot of information about nukiller waste transport, URENCO / Capenhurst, Uranium Hex / Uranium Hex transport, etc, etc.

This file also includes some historical information about flood & storms around existing reactors, and the current flood maps which go along with them.

There are also various maps which show the location of various reactors in a number of countries, together with that of Uranium mines.

To back up all this information I also use the OS maps which show Hinkley, Sizewell, & Dungeness.

These are maps show exactly why these reactors are likely to be effected by storms and high tides.

This file is used both for any talks that which I might give, and as a way of giving ‘one 2 one’ background briefings to activists.

I’m very willing to go through it all with any activist who want to know the fuller picture, and has the time to do so.

 

Remodelling The Campaigning Model

I shall continue to be an impossible person so long as those who are now possible remain possible.”Mikhail Bakunin

The Current Situation

One of the things I keep repeating is something which seems very obvious to may activists.

We have reached the tipping end of Climate Change, and there is very little we can do except to try to mitigate the most extreme aspects of that change.

The Pacific is dying.

&

We have a major long term problems with nukiller power & nukiller waste.

Yet the number of activists who are campaigning to stop these problems is extremely small.


Countering the campaigning myth.

One of the continual myths that abounds is that we can change things by organising big national demonstrations, lots of nonviolent direct action, and building a mass movement.

I’ve heard the same thing said many a time, and then watched people fall away with burnout, while stating that they need to ‘take a rest for a while’.

Thus campaigning goes in waves of activities, while the latest political crisis diverts a lot of individuals attention from these issues.

Yet the dangers posed by global warning, nukiller power, and radioactive waste grow by the hour.

Having regular rests might be good for the individual activists, but it’s not good for the those activists who keep going hour by day by month by year by decade on end. [ That comes with a financial and emotional cost which I’ll not go in to right now.]

For the long term activists it’s not just a question of keeping up with the issue, as the nukiller industry is multifaceted, but constantly working to share that knowledge.

Thus the best campaigners need have to a wide ranging knowledge of different subjects, be multi-skilled, and possess the ability to keep summing up that knowledge in different ways.

Just doing that while organising very small actions is the very most which most long term activists can hope to achieve.

This is particularly so as there are just not the numbers to sustain anything else.

Thus the line about ‘direct action is the only way’ becomes more of a chant than the reality.

Just keep in mind that:-

– Long term campaigning means we have to transcend both class and culture.

– Long term campaigning means constant self-education.

– Long term campaigning means just that.

– Long term campaigning means constantly campaigning for years on end without a break.

Constantly campaigning is the name of the game.


Just How do we do it?

The reality for most campaigning groups is that everything comes down to a few activists.

So:-

– How do we get away from only ever being able to organise regular pickets or leafleting sessions which just consist of 2,3, or 4 people ?

– How do we get away from meetings or public meetings at which we are only a small group of committed individuals ?

– How do we keep campaigning for years on end with little or no support?

&

Most importantly of all.

– How do we motivate people in to action ?

There are no easy answers to these questions.


A few workable options.

My thinking is that there is just not the money, people, or the resources around to think about any major national events.

Yet we can do the following:-

– Make sure to get to any pickets of demonstrations by other groups which are going on within the area or region one is living in.

– Hold more co-ordinated demonstrations or pickets on set dates.

e.g. During the next DRS open day will be held at their Carlisle depot on July 18th.

– Have more nukiller waste train leafleting sessions which are held at those times when regular commuters go through the effected stations.

That in turn could be used as a pre-requisite to setting up more local anti-nukiller groups.

– Encourage activists from other local groups to come visit & find out more about our own nukiller plants.

This is something which will both widen our knowledge base, and help to build support for each other.

For example: –

It would be very useful for more activists to go see all of those plants which will be effected by rising sea levels, such as Sizewell, Dungeness, & Heysham.

Or

Capenhurst & all those places through which Uranium Hex is transported.

&

– Getting away from thinking about supporting those these groups which have paid fund-raisers.

The real need is to pay for the leaflets which are handed out by activists, and getting people to these protests on a regular basis.

That means making a few small regular donations to cover paper, ink, and train fares.

All of this might not seem like such,

but it is a very basis need if we are ever going to sustain any long term anti-nukiller campaigning.


Re-penning the campaigning manuals.

As a last observation.

Many of these issues are just not covered in most campaigning manuals.

The presumption being that each campaign has an easily defined time scale.

Yet this does not apply to nukiller power, as we need to look at the many year which they will be around, and the long term impact they will make.

Even if we stop new build and close down all the nukiller plants in one go, then there will still be the decommissioning and radioactive waste issue which will need to be addressed.

There is real need for campaigning manuals to examine just how we might support long term campaigning, and thus how best to work in mixed aged groups.

Train Time Information

Over the last year I’ve been out leafleting about the nukiller waste trains issue in such places as Chester, Warrington, and Wigan.

Two of the very noticeable comments which I’ve received while doing this are:-

I’ve seen them go by. ”

&

I’ve seen them go through here on a regular basis.

This is like saying that they have noticed what was passing by, become very blasé about what they were seeing, or just didn’t realise how dangerous they might be.

One problem we face in campaigning about these waste trains comes as an uncertainty.

For while we know the time slots for them to pass through any station, it does not mean they will all be used.

So that’s is why I now print out the waste train time schedules, with a note as to which platform they will be passing by, and make sure everyone who is leafleting with me gets a copy.

These printed timetables can then be used to fully Illustrate just why we are are leafleting outside of the stations.

Though what really need to be saying is:-

What You Can Do About It.

The next line being: –

Do you live next door in any of these train roots?

I mention that as we do need to have more train spotters in order to document these trains.

What would be really ideal is if these train spotters could then let others know when they are going up or down the line.

Them it will be possible to alert passengers going in to these stations that a waste flask is due that day.

We still need to keep doing these leafleting sessions, and do them on a regular basis.

To quote Niccolo Machiavelli: –

The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.

In Between

In between my normal round of activities, I’ve been working upon a number of projects which illustrate just what can be done in terms of Joined-Up-Campaigning.

Co-ordinated Leafleting

The first of these has been a series of co-ordinated leafleting sessions outside of the railway stations through which DRS nukiller waste trains pass through.

There have been three such co-ordinated sessions this year.

These stations have included Bridgwater, Bristol, Brixton, Carnforth, Carlisle, Chester, Gloucester, Lancaster, Warrington, & Wigan.

The great advantage of these co-ordinated leafleting sessions is that they only need a few people to cover each of these stations, but their impact is much greater in total.

In order to reach the greatest number of people who use these stations, it’s a good idea to leaflet them during the evening rush hour.

I’m hoping that there will be more of these co-ordinated leafleting sessions at many more stations within the coming year.

Joined Up Campaigning – Joined Up Thinking

One thing I’ve been working upon of late has been a response to the current set of MOD proposals as to where radioactive waste from decommissioned nukiller submarine might be stored.

The difficult part about drafting this statement was to avoid any aspect of NIMBYism, but still have something which any community group in the effected areas could put their name to.

If more such statements could be produced, then it will help to build a more campaigning networks.

For a long time now we have suffered from having too few activists, but by developing such co-ordinated campaigning, we should be able to turn this weakness in to our greatest strength

New Flasks From Davis

Yesterday afternoon a photograph in the October issue of the Railway Magazine really caught my attention.

The photo was taken on August 27, and shows 10 newly build nukiller waste wagons being moved from the manufactures to the DRS depot at Crewe.

The waste flask manufacturer is W.H.Davis & Son, which is based at Langwith Junction, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The company is described by Companies House as being a Private Limited Company, which manufactures railway locomotives and rolling stock.

The company website states that:-

‘ Recent contracts have included well wagons fitted with double bogies for the safe movement of nuclear product. ’

You can also see a photo of a 180 tonne GLW double-bogied nuclear flask carrier.

This is very obviously a company which we should be taking more interest in over the next few years.