In June LLRC wrote to Diane McCrea, Chair of Natural Resources Wales. This report explains in accessible language how and why Government radiation risk agencies underestimate the hazards of radioactivity inside the body. It links to this analysis of the shortcomings of CEFAS tests and reports on radioactivity in the mud.
The report also draws attention to the likelihood that doses will increase over time as particles become fragmented.
On 21st June Kirsty Williams AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education, forwarded a second report. It analyses documentary evidence to show that government officials and their advisers in COMARE (Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment) and Public Health England are guilty of evasion and misrepresentation. (The documents are linked in the second report.)
This is now about sociology rather than science. In 2016 COMARE recruited a sociologist, Professor Ray Kemp. Minutes of COMARE's meeting in November 2017 show Minute 2.5 shows Pr. Kemp being thanked for his advice on how to handle a potentially difficult meeting with COMARE's critics. In 2014 he was appointed Chair of the Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council of the Australian radiation risk agency ARPANSA, presumably to help allay public concern about Australia's Uranium mines and A-bomb test sites.
On 13th July 2018 NRW's Chair Diane McCrea rejected all the evidence and claimed that they are required to abide by procedures of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the NRW letter is here). In reply we pointed out that, on the contrary, IAEA sets minimum standards while the law in Wales requires NRW to take account of all relevant evidence, to gather evidence in respect of uncertainties and to change their decisions where appropriate. These are the top-level principles of sustainable management of natural resources in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 - an Act of the National Assembly for Wales.
Six days after we wrote that letter, Ms. McCrea resigned. It was reported that this was because she had failed to ensure that NRW obtained market prices for timber felled on public land. Be that as it may, NRW has yet to defend her failure to abide by Welsh law on environmental protection.
The majority of AMs who spoke in the Welsh Assembly mud dump debate on 23rd May emphasised the precautionary principle. Suspending the licence is an obvious first move so that proper tests can be done. We have written to all the speakers about NRW's position, recommending that the Welsh Government should withdraw the matter from NRW. We hope people in Wales will use this outline letter to lobby their own AMs.
Sign this 38 Degrees petition
- - write to elected representatives in Wales at every level asking them to demand that NRW suspends the licence and responds in full to the evidence of misrepresentation and evasion.
Ask Westminster MPs to propose that the Science and Technology Select Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee investigate the roles of COMARE and PHE in this charade.
Before the dump can begin we need to establish the baseline of Uranium and Plutonium blowing ashore in south Wales.
We want used air filters. We have deployed this technique before to show that weapons used by Israeli forces in the Lebanon contained enriched Uranium. The technique involves exposing bits of the filter to CR39 plastic. The Lebanon report includes an image and an explanation. At the top of this page is a similar image obtained the same way. It's from a sample taken at Newbiggin, Cumbria in 2017. It shows part of a microscope slide which we smeared with about 0.1 grammes of Newbiggin mud. Each of the small circles is a pit in the surface of the plastic caused by a single radioactive decay, probably from Plutonium in this case as the speck of material that caused it is quite hot. That microscope slide showed seven such particles.
We need filters from vehicles, stationary engines and farm tractors operating near the south Wales coast. The older the better, the nearer the sea the better. We are interested in vehicles that mostly travel the coastal routes between Newport and Porthcawl:
... especially from farms between the sea and the roads listed above. The longer the filters have been in use the easier it will be to see if they have collected any radioactivity.
To counter the inevitable accusations of fakery we want the filters to be collected by someone you trust - a local councillor or a magistrate or any of the kind of people you might ask to sign the back of your passport photo.
NRW does not know how much radioactivity is in the mud. They think they do, but they haven't been given all the relevant information and they don't have enough relevant science to assess the knowledge gaps.
Data from the United Nations shows Hinkley Point reactors have emitted vast amounts of radioactive particulates. Official monitoring since 1989 states that the Severn Estuary also contains radioactivity from Sellafield.
In December 2017 LLRC made an FoI request for the raw data from the testing which informed CEFAS advice on radioactivity in the mud. This scientific report (February 2018) reveals large gaps in CEFAS' knowledge:
LLRC's research over the last decade shows that there are health issues around the Severn Estuary probably linked to radioactivity.
This December 2017 report commissioned from Green Audit discusses: