Linking up some of my recent campaigning work.

Much of my time now involves undertaking Joined-up-campaigning, and showing just how issues are linked one to another.

So with that in mind here are some links just what I have been doing and looking at of late.


“A historic moment”: first meeting for rail campaigners with nuclear industry

            Vegan PPE

One aspect of the DRS visit concerned wearing PPE [ Personal protective equipment ] – especially around the engine sheds, I had no problem with wearing head protection and a high viz waistcoat, but pointed out that as a vegan I do not and will not wear any footwear made if animal skins.

This is what I received in the correspondence I received on the issue: –

‘ We don’t have many visitors especially where we have to provide PPE, so this is the first time this has been raised.’

As things worked out I could make the visit wearing my normal Vegan footwear by keeping to a series of marked safe paths.

The follow up being that I was able to note over the following to them.

In January 2020, an employment tribunal confirmed that veganism comes within the scope of legal protection under the 2010 Equality Act.

                   Astute Class Nuclear Submarine Manual

One of my recent book purchases is a Haynes Manual upon the workings of the Astute Class Nuclear Submarines which are currently being build by BAE Systems.

The manual not only gives lots of illustrations about these deadly underwater craft which are currently being build, and an outline of the commissioning process.
Of special interest are the various photographs in the book, and a map of the Barrow Upon Furness dockyard where they are being built.

This is a very useful campaigning reference book.

Rail Atlas – An Activist Review


Rail Atlas    Great Britain & Ireland.

Crecy Publishing Ltd – Manchester

15th edition 2020     First published in 1977

152 Pages               ISBN 978 0 86093 681 7

There is something about maps which we all find fascinating, both as works of art, or as geographical representations.

Yet they are also very important reference works.

The Rail Atlas

Unlike most maps or rail passenger maps, this work includes the following: –

– Private lines and depots.

– Proposed railway lines.

– Heritage Railway lines.


– Ferry routes with the names of the shipping lines.

That includes both passenger and freight shipping lines.

It also includes an Electrification Map.

Across the Channel

The Rail and Ferry connections across the English Channel are very detailed.

This includes the following: –

– The Channel Tunnel lines at Ashford and to the north of Folkstone.

– The Various Ferry routes from Ramsgate and Dover.


– All the various lines around Calais.

Of Particular interest to Activists

MOD Lines

What many individuals do not realise is just how many MOD [military] railway lines and depots there are.

These include such places as : –

– Ludgershall [ Tidworth ]

– Longtown


– Glen Douglas

There are also the better know line in the Devonport dockyard near Plymouth.

Nukiller Waste

Anti nukiller power activists are concerned with the movement of highly radioactive used fuel rods transported by DRS [ Direct Rail Services ] along the main railway lines.

This includes the branch lines which go to the various reactor sites.

There is for example a short line in to Torness, a Goods & Nuclear Waste Terminal to the south of Thurso in North East Scotland, and the Ashford to Dungeness line.

DRS has depots at both Crewe and Carlisle.

Yet the most interesting and least well known line is from Sellafield to the ‘Low lever’ nukiller waste dump at Drigg in Cumbria.

While the Sellafield / Windscale plant has a number of sidings which are shown in the atlas.


Anyone who is interested in knowing more about all the various rail lines which could be better used for the carrying of passengers, and goods, should have a copy of this atlas.

At £20 it is extremely good value for money.

Getting Out Of The Place.


Dr Ian Fairlie has just produced one of the most thought provoking articles which I have read in a long while.

Evacuations after Severe Nuclear Accidents

In it he examines: –

– The experience of evacuations during the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

– Whether lengthy evacuations from large cities are feasible?


– Some emergency plans for evacuations in North America.

Having read it I started to think about just what might happen if a major accident were to occur again at Windscale, which is now know as Sellafield.

Evacuation Routes

One of the presumptions which the planners make in their thinking is that everything will be fine, or up and running on the day.

Could it be that they presume that there are no blocked or impassible roads across Cumbria, track work on the railways, or the kind of flooding which occurred in the lake district during 2015 ?

The only railway line out of the area runs along the West Cumbrian coast, which includes a station at Sellafield.

So any railway evacuation from the area will be to the south via Barrow to Lancaster, or to the north and Carlisle via Whitehaven.

These are also the route which are used to take nukiller waste flasks to Sellafield. So any evacuation should include just what to do about these flasks, as they are not designed for long term storage of irradiated fuel rods.

Moving the sick.

Any evacuation from the area will entail moving patients in Whitehaven up to Carlisle or further afield.

Does the NHS have the capacity to move all these patients in a hurry, and are there enough ambulances to transport them ?

Given all the publicity about how hospital corridors are been used for patients waiting beds to be freed up before they are admitted, then we might land up with a shortage of hospital corridors to put them in.

Then there are all of the individuals who will need to be evacuated from Care Homes or Hospices in the region.

I wonder just where they might be sent ?

I’m left wondering just how many evacuation plans take in to accounts any of the above?

Yes it’s all questions, questions, and more questions, but that’s the easy part.

Getting answers and finding the right solutions is going to take some time.

Nukiller Waste Flasks – The Unknown Facts.

We know just what nukiller waste flasks look like from the outside, but their interior design is unknown.

We also know very little about how they are tested or maintained.

Thus what we are left with are some very worrying questions.

What we know.

– They are transported through our city centres on a regular basis.

– These waste trains are operated by DRS [ Direct Rail Services ], which is subsidiary company of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.


– That they carry highly radioactive used fuel rods from the various nukiller reactors to Sellafield.

Testing the Design

Yet we know very little about the construction of these flasks, how often they are subjected to any structural tests, or just how long each flask is in use before it needs to be replaced.

The flasks were designed over 40 years, and I wonder just what potential stress points might show up if they were ever to be subjected to any modern computer modelling tests.

What we need to see.

What needs to kept in mind is that none of the activists I’ve talked to about this issue have ever seen any photographs of technical drawings of the inner parts of these flasks.

The best we ever get to see are illustrations such as this.

Thus while all the illustrations of these flasks show the fuel rods stacked horizontally, they might well be loaded vertically, which would make it faster to load and unload them.

It’s a Steel

When Steel is subjected to Radiation, then some of it becomes radioactive Cobalt 60.

Thus some of these flasks must contain Cobol 60, or at least the Skip in which the fuel rods are placed.

What we don’t know is just how much radioactivity the skips which form the central part of the flask has been subjected to.

This is not something which can be calculated by the length of time the flasks have been in existence, but by the total number of hours the used fuel rods been placed in them.

These are just a few of the questions which we need to ask and keep asking.

Further Reading.

Surrey, John.

The Urban Transportation of Irradiated Fuel.

This book was published in 1984, and contains one of the most useful illustrations of how a waste flask is constructed which I’ve yet to see.

DRS Waste Train Videos.

Introductory Notes.

This is Not a definitive lists of all the of the DRS nukiller waste flask train video clips.

Almost all of them have been taken by Train Spotters.

What they show is just how close these high level radioactive waste flasks pass by train passengers :-

– Especially that of Babies, Toddlers, and younger Children.

In that respect take a special note of the ones taken at Chester and Conway.

My intention in compiling this list is to show: –

– Just how frequent these waste flask movements can be.


– How little regard there is to any dangers which come from such a regular movement of high level radioactive waste.

They are listed by location in order that local campaigning groups can use them to illustrate just what is taken through their local train stations.

A full list of all the stations they pass through can be found here.

I have also added  clips which show both the DRS Model Waste Train sets, and some of the Drax Biomass freight trains [ For those who are interested in wider Climate Change issues ].

These are to be found listed at the end of this document.

Please Note. 

This list was completed on February 26th 2017, and so there will be others which can be added to it..


Arnside viaduct

Ashford International

Ashford and then at Dungeness.

Barrow in Furness

Continue reading DRS Waste Train Videos.

Thinking About What Follows on.


One of my favourite ways of referring to both Politicians and managers is that they work it out as they go along.

Yet a little brush with reality, or the realisation that what they want to do will get them in to a lot of trouble, might well get them worrying about getting the sack, or loosing a lot of votes for doing so.

Though many a manager or politician are so shielded from the real world, or do not socialise outside of their own class or social milieu, that they no idea about the social, economic, or environmental damage which they might do.

That’s why a lot of political campaigning comes down to showing just what will happen if various policies are enacted.

Thus a lot of anti-nukiller power campaigning comes down to researching about, and warning individuals what might happen if such various whizzo projects comes in to being.

Such a project is the proposed new coal mine plan for Cumbria

That’s why I think that all such proposals should have a check list of environmental problems which come with them as a matter of form.

Much in the same way what packets of chalk should carry a warning that criminal damage charges may result if they are used on pavements or walls.

Giving out the warnings.

Yet all this research and protesting will not be enough without being able to finance all the travel which is involved in this campaigning work, and the protests which go with it.

Or are there enough people who can undertake all the leafleting which needs to be done in order to get the message out to people.

Which comes down to a problem which faces us all the time.

Unlike in Belgium, France, Germany, or the Netherlands,

we just don’t have the thousands, never mind the hundreds of people who will come out to demonstrate.

We tend to think that an event is very well attended if 12 to 20 people turn up to it.

Though the experience of solo leafleting, or maybe as a group of 2, 3, 4, 5, or six activists on a leafleting session or picket is very much the norm.

That’s why we need to develop more co-ordinated local protests or leafleting sessions about the nukiller waste trains which go through the UK.

As a part of this we have established Working Alliance.

Yet we still come down to one major problem, and that is the high cost of getting to so any of the many different nukiller plants which are scattered throughout Cumbria & the NW.

This July there will be another leafleting session at the DRS nukiller waste trains depot in Carlisle, while in October there will be a couple of events to mark 60 years since the Windscale fire in .

That’s aside from all the ongoing work which needs to be done in order to raise public awareness about Capenhurst, Drigg, & Springfields.

Thus this appeal.

If you think this work is worth while, but can not involve yourself it, then please do make a fiscal contribution to either the Close Capenhurst Campaign, or Radiation Free Lakeland.

The Unworkable Proposed Merger of MOD Plod, The CNC, and BTP

A Unique force.

There is one aspect about the Civil Nuclear Constabulary [ CNC ] which we should always state whenever we write or talk about them.

The CNC refer to themselves as an Armed Force.

They are financed by the nukiller power companies and have very close links with the MOD.

They no longer guard all nukiller instillations such as Capenhurst or Springfields.

They do not guard the nukiller waste trains which pass through our city centres, and neither does the British Transport police [ BTP ] .

Yet the CNC do have powers of arrest, with no public accountability about the way they operate.

An Unworkable Proposal

Yet again the bright idea of merging the CNC, MOD Plod , and the BTP to protect nuclear sites and transport links is being touted by the Tory party.

This is an idea which has been around for a long time, but was ruled out the last time it came up a few years back.

Just consider this:-

– 95% of the BTP funding comes from Britain’s privatised train companies.

– While part of the CNC is funded by the nukiller energy companies,


– MOD plod is a part of the MOD.

So just who would land up paying for such a combined force would make for some very interesting negotiations.

That’s aside from just what the various companies might have a say in how such a new body might be controlled.


If it might be liable to any form of public accountability.

Never mind their different types of ‘training and operational needs’.

Differences in pay and remuneration.

There are also variations between MOD plod, The CNC, the BTP which would cause a number of other problems should such merger go ahead.

All three of them have very different pay structures, terms of employment, and retirement schemes.

What is really needed

Thus I just can’t see how any such proposed merger might be workable.

Though there is an urgent need to initiate a public outcry about the way the CNC operates, and just how we might better safeguard all the nukiller waste sites way in to the future.

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


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.


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.


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.