Wednesday, 29 July 2009

CORBY:Council and Health Authority Denials


Despite the very well known dangers of heavy metals and dioxin dusts Corby Council has spent millions of council-tax payers money on defending the indefensible.It would not surprise me if other groups started actions,in other parts of the country,and on many other health issues.
Now, the Health Protection Agency is insisting to local authorities that incinerators are safe, having done no research on birth defects and infant mortality around London’s incinerators, and refusing to publish the figures it has, until forced to do so under FOI. This is despite a growing body of international evidence that even traffic derived pollution has profound effects on pregnancy development and outcomes. Dr. Michael Ryan’s work on this topic shows very serious effects.
The neighbouring borough of Bexley funded an investigation of the dust around its Manor Road waste site, with disturbing findings. The monitoring of the current position around the hazardous waste transfer station in Factory Lane, Croydon, needs clarifying and future lorry movements related to the SLWP need to be examined very carefully. People need to realise that every 100,000 tons of burnt /pyrolysed waste produces 30-40,000 tons of very hazardous dioxin and heavy metal filled ash/char. The same cargo as went through Corby. Arguing about chimney emissions is one thing, ignoring the VERY SERIOUS RESIDUE issues is another.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Radioactive Waste Incineration

The problem is that radiation risk science is in a class of its own because the nuclear industry is fundamentally a state enterprise. It's been partly privatised but the world powers made it inalienably a matter of national policy from 1942 onwards. Just think of the asbestos analogy. If firms were putting asbestos-contaminated material into incinerators on the reasoning that dilution and dispersion were acceptable risk reduction techniques they'd be shut down immediately. But asbestos never, in anyone's mind, stood between the west and the red menace. The radiation risk model chosen by the government deliberately avoids a real study of the effects of any internal radioactive dose, particularly from the family of alpha-particle emitters (remember the Russian journalist).There is a pretence that the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only affected by the Gamma radiation of the explosion(the Saharan sun) and not by eating ,drinking and breathing in the radioactive dusts (the Saharan sand).To help matters along the relevant data for the first 5 years (1945-1950) were removed and Japanese research halted. Japan was, after all, under American military occupation. Many scientists lost their careers in the arguments over these issues, and Professor Rotblatt, a member of the Manhattan project, who won a Nobel peace prize for his work to stop atmospheric testing, saw the two issues of data withholding and alpha emitter exclusion as fatal flaws in our current safety standards.
So the present and future of emissions policy is inextricably bound up with governments' avoidance of liability for past errors and they'll continue with their denials until they are put into court, the science tested in a forum which absolutely requires balance, and the decision won.
Such a tactic would involve a legal challenge to the authorization of a particular incinerator to burn radioactively contaminated material, a crucial consideration would be that the incineration involved elements of high atomic number.
These issues may appear irrelevant to people not into what the government loves to call “low-level radioactivity”. Interested readers should log into the LLRC website and follow their noses… inventor of the atom bomb, inspector of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, witness to the Pacific UK, Australian ,NZ and USA servicemen’s exposures and active teacher and campaigner was there before them, but only the very restricted audience at London hospitals were privileged to hear.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


In the biggest shake-up of the planning system for more than 60 years, energy companies and developers are fine-tuning proposals that will test the government's resolve to fast-track schemes considered vital for the national interest.
This week, Gordon Brown maintained that the new regime would "speed up decisions ... for the national infrastructure" in advance of a statement today from energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband, pushing the case for more wind farms.
While much of the present planning system will remain in place, the new regime will remove decisions on big, strategic infrastructure projects - airport runways, major road schemes and new rail lines, as well as power stations, wind farms, waste disposal schemes and new water projects

Decisions will be taken from local councils and handed to the non-elected IPC.Its head, (ex-chief exec Kent County Council) Pitt replies: "My best estimate is that we will be dealing with a significant number of applications by late spring [2010], and that a substantial amount of groundwork will have been done by both the applicants and other organisations."

See John Vidal's article in the Guardian,WED 15th JULY

Thursday, 9 July 2009


BIOCHAR pyrolysate, new gold?..........or same old, same old….

I went to the LAEC energy from waste committee today, where there was a real buzz in the air, and a hard sell for a new unheard of waste treatment method that had even been cleared by Ireland for dealing with BSE cattle!...errrrr?

Some members of the committee even thought it would be better than the old coal via coke to gas system (the “old” pyrolysis) because it was “ new technology”. So where had all the heavy metals in the sewage disappeared to I asked myself….it seemed too much of a free lunch to me…so I asked around.

“If you were pyrolysing waste materials, then I think you are right in assuming you will get a waste product at the end of the process. This could be contaminated with dioxins, PCBS, PAHs, etc. The Env. Agency would regulate as a waste, so you would need to demonstrate safety before you could apply to agricultural soils (or elsewhere I guess).”

From a leading expert in Biochar research

“4) What other impacts need to be considered?Pyrolysis can result in air pollution and particulate emissions known to have serious impacts on human health. As with conventional incineration, toxins contained within feedstocks are emitted into the air or retained in ash or and charcoal Some biochar companies are already using a wide variety of “wastes” which can include treated wood, crop residues that have been sprayed with agrichemicals, plastics, used tyres or coal mixed with other biomass. The impact of adding large quantities of potentially toxin-laden charcoal into soils must be assessed, along with air emissions from pyrolysis.”


So if some bright spark suggests a new miracle cure for dried sewage sludge, or rubber tyres, I’d take it with a pinch of salt, if I were you.


RADIOACTIVITY AND HAZARDOUS WASTE….. “ paint-pots and plutonium rods”… it ain’t.

The new economics of landfill tax for commercial and industrial waste, twice the volume of municipal, mean its too expensive to go to landfill,and so its coming to an incinerator near you.Now local areas will deal with local waste streams,whatever they are (central government presumption).

Rubber tyres, tarmac, contaminated earth from Victorian sites, asbestos demolition waste, car oils, industrial lubricants, waste, such as contaminated wood, glass and plastic . Electronic waste, such as fluorescent tubes, computer monitors and televisions, batteries (full of toxic heavy metals).Industrial waste, such as solvent, paint, varnish, oils, cleaning cloths, filters and soiled protective clothing .Residue from other waste treatments, such as ash from incinerators.
Agricultural pesticides and BSE contaminated cattle
In the UK, almost all radioactive waste comes from the nuclear power industry.
2% comes from defence uses (nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered submarines).
1% comes from medical and industrial uses of radioactive substances.

This is an example of the regulation

Special Form Certificate

Special form material means either:

- An indispersible solid radioactive material;
- A sealed capsule containing radioactive material that shall be so manufactured that it can be opened only by
destroying the capsule.

This means that if you have radioactive material which has a current Special Form certificate the packaging requirements
for transport are less onerous, often enabling a less expensive and more readily available transport package to be used.

If the material is no longer Special Form it may mean that “Type B” container is required which can in turn lead to a more complicated operation.

What is Best Practicable Means?

The Environment Agency requires users
of radioactive materials to demonstrate pro-actively that they are using the
Best Practicable Means to minimise the accumulation of radioactive waste and
to minimise the discharge of that waste to the environment, before users are
granted authorisations to accumulate and dispose of radioactive waste. There
is no definitive definition of BPM as each user's situation will be different.

What do we mean by 'Waste'?

Radioactive material has a wide range of
applications such as in Medicine to diagnose and treat patients, in Universities
and Research Companies for research and in Industry for supporting operational
Where waste radioactive material is secured within robust physical
containment, it's classed as a 'waste closed source'; if not, it is more generally
called 'radioactive waste'. The regulations governing the disposal of these
broad classes of material are different.

What do we mean by 'Closed Sources'?

Radioactive closed sources have
a wide range of applications such as in Medicine to diagnose and treat patients
and in Industry where they are found in instruments and gauges that determine
levels, volumes and thickness.
Where waste radioactive material is secured within
robust physical containment, it's classed as a 'waste closed source'; if not,
it is more generally called 'radioactive waste'. The regulations governing
the disposal of these broad classes of material are different.


There is a real issue about “lost” closed sources, enough to give rise to European concern and regulation! Which is a comfort.

Friday, 3 July 2009


THE COMMON PROCUREMENT VOCABULARY……otherwise a series of nearly impenetrable codes for helping trans-european bidding:or sweeping the dust under the carpet!

Not just any incinerator,but a hazardous waste incinerator!

This is what Croydon is asking bids for:

1.9051330= Incineration
2.9051390=Sludge disposal
3.90520000=Radioactive, toxic, medical and hazardous waste services ( you can guess why they wanted that in code)
4.90524200=Clinical waste disposal
5.45252300=Refuse incinerator construction

I am not going on as that will do, don’t you think? We happy band under the plumes…..or are they going to compost the radioactive waste then? Democracy, this is not (when were your opinions asked on this), Communication, this is not. A cowardly skulking behind administrative iron curtains, a refusal to open a public debate and a Stalinist coup of the waste-mongers it is. Will the people of Sutton and Croydon stand for this? By an unusual coincidence the inhabitants of Kingston will be very far away, so won’t care.


£919,000, off the press...Croydon lead procurer for SLWP contract.....more later!

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Victorian Values, urbanisation and the state we’re in now…. Why DEFRA’S “no conclusive evidence” is a fraud.

Our great-great grandfathers were poisoned by their work with coal and metals and chemistry, but the poison also soaked into the land. Like radioactivity the biological life of the poisons is many, many generations long. The industrial plants have, sooner or later, been demolished and the houses near them first housed the workers, then, very often the poorest in the community. The vacant plots were cheap and councils built their housing on them. As densification became more important even the most toxic sites began to be used after “remediation”, never mind the dusts raised by that, or the builders that followed, to dig deep foundations.

Incinerators have also been built in these areas, and scientific studies (notably that of Paul Elliott on cancers near incinerators, 1996) show lots of extra ill-health, from the rare liver cancers and sarcomas associated with dioxins, to leukaemias and congenital malformations and infant deaths. The standard comment is that these findings cannot be ascribed to whatever industrial activity is being investigated because of “confounding factors”…..i.e. the extra ill-health caused by being deprived, having a poor diet, being working-class, smoking, drinking, getting poor antenatal care etc.,etc. That’s why there is “no conclusive evidence”. Its not that there aren’t tons of illnesses.

There is this built-in 20th century factor which the Seveso explosion and following cancer studies show:

The first study was done on the years 1976-1986 (actually 10 years too early, as in the Elliott study), and found that the incidence of all cancers was the same for the exposed population as for the unexposed. This is despite extensive proof that dioxins cause cancer in laboratory animals. It was subsequently revealed that other dioxins were discovered in the contaminated soil that had come from another, unidentified, source. Thus background levels of pollution were already high enough to cause illness.

This is one of the problems facing epidemiologists, that it is virtually impossible to find a control group that has not been exposed to environmental pollutants. This technical scientific difficulty is being exploited and abused to give false reassurances. Our children will pay for this first, and then we ourselves will.

The potential Beddington incinerator will stand next door to the sites of 2 Victorian Gasworks (1826 onwards), Croydon power stations "A" and "B" and two metal foundries.Local historians will know,unlike me,their size,history and precise siting.Croydon already has peaks of early neonatal deaths.

As our Victorian legacy gets exhumed, and the effects of old and new incinerators are examined,bear in mind that the embryo and infant are the most "sensitive receptors".The statistics they provide will be the earliest and most important indicators that something is wrong.Will your local authority and the state show and share,or hide? Will Imperial College and SAHSU dare to research or not? Don't hold your breath!

An extraordinary example of planners "forgetting" contamination is at the Olympics site: 1 experimental nuclear reactor and its waste + 2 Thorium factories + 3 unregulated waste tip = 7,300 tons of radioactive waste now in a "safe" bunker on site...who's going to live there then?