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Tritium is routinely dumped by the MoD in the Clyde. Never heard of it? It has been attributed to cancer, genetic mutations and developmental defects in unborn children and a safe level has not been established

PICTURED: Trident submariner, 25, who died at Royal Navy's ...

TRITIUM – What is it and why all the fuss?

Tritium is radioactive hydrogen a product generated by nuclear power reactors. Like all radioactive substances, tritium is a carcinogen, a mutagen, and a teratogen. The radiological significance of tritium is not related to its inherent toxicity, as it is a very low energy form of radiation, but to its easy incorporation into all parts of the body that contain water.

Tritiated water can be ingested in the liquid form. It can also be inhaled or absorbed through the skin in the form of water vapour or steam, which makes tritium an occupational hazard for nuclear power plant workers.

In pregnant females, tritium ingested by the mother can cross the placenta and be incorporated directly into the foetus. Like all radioactive substances, tritium can cause cancer, genetic mutations, or developmental defects in unborn children (the latter following pre-natal exposure of the foetus). No threshold or “safe dose” of tritium has been scientifically established for any of these effects.

Plymouth march

Scientist raises radiation fear

A scientist has warned that radioactive materials being released in Britain are many times more dangerous than previously believed. Dr Chris Busby says he has found that low-level radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster caused a sharp rise in infant leukaemia in Wales and Scotland.

His warning comes as the Environment Agency considers whether to allow Devonport Dockyard to dump TRITIUM from submarines into the River Tamar in Plymouth. Campaigners had been assured that low-level radiation would not be a health hazard – the same advice given after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Devonport Dockyard processes tritium from nuclear submarines.

Leukaemia rates in Plymouth were recently shown to be 25% above the national average among males and 29% above average in females. Some tritium – a weak radioactive form of hydrogen – is already released into the Tamar from the city’s historic naval dockyard.

Dr Busby says the risk of people contracting cancer from low-level radioactivity could be far greater than calculated by the Environment Agency’s advisers. He told BBC News Online: “We have sent the Environment Agency a solicitor’s letter saying they can no longer accept risk levels are safe. “So if they go into court saying they didn’t know, this letter will show they were warned.” Their model fails to predict all sort of risks. Their understanding of radiation risk is faulty.

Dr Busby, from Aberystwyth, presented a paper at a World Health Organization conference on Chernobyl in Kiev. He said the Chernobyl findings cast serious doubt on the internationally-adopted model used to calculate health risk. His paper says the increased danger comes from radiation absorbed into the body through food and drink. That makes that health risk many times greater than from external exposure. Radiation levels in the UK after Chernobyl were considered too low to have a measurable effect on health.

Dr Busby’s paper says: “Government advice was that food was safe to eat and water and milk safe to drink.” He said: “The models being used to calculate risk to health from low-level radiation are out by a factor of between 100 and 1,000. “When they apply this risk model they find hardly anybody will become ill – the figure is point-zero something. “But their model fails to predict all sort of risks.

“The whole basis of their understanding of radiation risk is faulty. Dr Busby has been advising anti-radiation campaigners who live close to the River Tamar, which divides Devon and Cornwall. They launched Cansar – Campaign Against Nuclear Storage And Radiation – when the Environment Agency announced a public consultation on Devonport Dockyard.

The operating company, has applied to increase tritium emissions by 700%. The tritium is a created in submarine reactors but cannot be dumped legally in international waters.   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1422130.stm

Faslane: The Home Of Trident Nuclear Subs - YouTube

 
Safety failure after failure at Faslane

Faslane has been home to the UK’s nuclear missile fleet since Polaris came into service in the mid-1960s, and is now the base for the four Trident missile submarines that replaced it. The facility, known formally as HM Naval Base Clyde, is also the base for the last remaining nuclear-powered Swiftsure hunter-killer and its replacement: four Astute class submarines.

Alongside seven Trafalgar class hunter-killers based at Devonport in Plymouth, these vessels are routinely serviced at Faslane: their nuclear reactors produce radioactive coolant that has to be replaced and need regular maintenance. That waste, which can contain radioactive tritium, cobalt-60, nickel-63, iron-55 and argon-41 gas, is handled and stored using a complex series of storage barges, tanks and pipes deep within the base.

And for nearly five decades, that process has been managed by the Ministry of Defence. That system of self-policing is now under increasing strain. Shocked by repeated safety breaches, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), the government authority that oversees radioactive emissions from civil nuclear sites, is pressing for the legal power to inspect and control Faslane’s nuclear operations.

The most damning report, produced by the MoD in September 2008 after complaints by Sepa, states that failing to abide by safety procedures is a “recurring theme” at Faslane. “This is a cultural issue that HM Naval Base Clyde needs to find a way to address,” it says. The 100-page report, released by Sepa to Channel 4 News, concludes that many of the ageing facilities used to process, store and dispose of radioactive waste at Faslane are not fit for purpose.

Other documents disclose that there have been at least eight radioactive leaks in the last 10 years, bringing the total number acknowledged at Faslane over the last three decades to more than 40.

The MoD admits its facilities fail to meet safety standards requiring that the “best practicable means” are used to control waste. In one case, the poor design of holding tanks has meant radioactive sludge has built up, which presents a “significant radiation hazard”. Those tanks are now going to be taken out of service.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/apr/27/nuclear-waste-scotland

Faslane naval base
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Faslane and Coulport nuclear bases plan to discharge even more radioactive waste into the Clyde

The nuclear weapon and submarine base at Faslane near Helensburgh is proposing to increase the amount of radioactive waste discharged into the Clyde and the air as the number of UK nuclear submarines based there rises from five to 14. The waste comes from the submarines’ reactors and includes radioactive cobalt-60 and tritium.

The MoD also wants to keep emitting tritium gas to the atmosphere from the nuclear weapons stored at Coulport on Loch Long where annual emissions of tritium doubled between 2008 and 2012, and are expected to rise with the introduction of upgraded warhead designs.

TRITIUM: Like all radioactive substances, can cause cancer, genetic mutations, or developmental defects in unborn children (the latter following pre-natal exposure of the foetus). No threshold or “safe dose” of tritium has been scientifically established for any of these effects.

Proposals to shift some submarine work to Coulport will also mean radioactive waste being transported by road between the two bases. The amount of solid waste to be treated and disposed of at Drigg near Sellafield in Cumbria is also due to increase.

The MoD stresses that all the discharges will be within authorised limits, which are being reduced. But critics say that Sepa and the Scottish government should crack down on the pollution.

In the wake of the MoD’s failure to reveal a 2012 radioactive incident at the Vulcan naval reactor in Caithness, the Scottish environment minister, promised to end the MoD’s crown immunity from regulation on radioactive pollution.

“This is not the time for an informal gentleman’s agreement,” said the coordinator of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. “After being bullied by the MoD at Vulcan, Sepa should wait until the Scottish Parliament gives them full power.”

Then they should set legally enforceable limits for discharges from Faslane, he argued. “If Scotland votes Yes, Trident and all nuclear submarines will go and the limits for nuclear discharges can then be reduced to zero.”

http://www.robedwards.com/2014/03/nuclear-bases-plan-to-discharge-more-radioactive-waste-into-the-clyde.html

A Tokyo Electric Power Co. employee monitors the discharge of groundwater into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, in the facility’s control room

 
2014: Tritium levels at Fukushima exceed Pacific Ocean dumping limits

Water sampled from a well at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has been found to contain levels of radioactive tritium that exceeds the limit for dumping it into the Pacific, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The discovery was the first report of over the limit tritium in groundwater at the wells since Tepco began discharging water into the ocean last week.

In samples taken from one of the 12 wells on Monday, 1,700 becquerels per litre of tritium was detected, exceeding the maximum limit of 1,500 becquerels, the utility said on Tuesday. Tritium levels in samples taken last month also topped the limit. Tepco stopped pumping water from the well on Tuesday night, and said it plans to step up groundwater monitoring.

Faslane nuclear protest Stock Photo - Alamy
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Prince William the “Butcher” of Culloden Infamy ensured the Scottish Highlands Would be Forever England

Highland Clearances | Scottish Tartans Authority

The Legacy of the (Butcher) Duke of Sutherland, His Cronies & The Rape, Pillage and Theft of the Highlands of Scotland

In 1854 Britain declared war on Russia. Highland regiments, so conspicuous in the past, were now equally conspicuous by their absence. “Where are the Highlanders?” was asked. The Duke of Sutherland hastily travelled from London to Dunrobin Castle and enquired why there were no Highland volunteers, an elderly gentleman replied:

“Your Grace’s mother and predecessors applied to our fathers for men upon former occasions and our fathers responded to their call. They have made us liberal promises, which neither them nor you performed. We are, we think, a little wiser than our fathers, and we estimate your promises of today at the value of theirs; besides you should bear in mind that your predecessors and yourself expelled us in a most cruel and unjust manner from the land which our fathers held in lien from your family. I do assure your Grace that it is the prevailing opinion in this country, that should the Czar of Russia take possession of Dunrobin Castle and Stafford House next term, that we could not expect worse treatment at his hands than we have experienced at the hands of your family for the last 50 years.”

In Sutherland there were no volunteers. The dwindling number of men said: “We have no country to fight for. You robbed us of our land and gave it to the sheep. Therefore, since you have preferred sheep to men, let sheep defend you.” Those young men who refused to volunteer called a public meeting stating: “we are resolved that there shall be no volunteers or recruits from Sutherland shire. Yet we assert that we are as willing as our forefathers were to peril life and limb in defence of our Queen and country were our wrongs and long-enduring oppression redressed, wrongs which will be remembered in Sutherland by every true Highlander as long as grass grows and water runs.”

http://www.yourphotocard.com/Ascanius/documents/The%20history%20of%20the%20Highland%20clearances.pdf

Duke of Cumberland "The Butcher" When it became clear to …

Over half of Scotland is owned by just 500 people, few of whom are actually Scots. As Britain’s great land-owning aristocratic families decline, a new breed of foreign laird is exploiting Scotland’s arcane land laws to buy up tracts of the Highlands and islands – Europe’s last great wilderness. The revelation comes in two new books which examine who owns Scotland. The authors have searched through ancient deeds and estate agents’ sales brochures to compile the most detailed picture of land ownership for a generation.

They show that most lairds no longer hail from Britain’s tweed-clad huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ classes; these days your local feudal overlord is more likely to be a self-made continental millionaire or an entrepreneur from Dubai, Egypt, Malaysia, Hong Kong or plain old America. The findings have sparked a political row north of the border. Many of the new lairds are absentee land-owners who, environmentalists claim, neglect Scotland’s greatest asset – the land itself.

Nationalist MPs and crofters, frustrated by the failure of Westminster politicians to bring Scotland into line with England and other European nations by abolishing feudal structures and regulating land use, are drawing up plans to limit foreign land ownership and introduce environmental codes for all estates.

The two books, “Who owns Scotland now?” and “Who owns Scotland”, update John McEwen’s ground-breaking attempt to sketch Scotland’s land-owning geography 30 years ago.

His study revealed that ancient British families dominated the hills, straths, glens and islands, controlling lucrative salmon beats and deer stalking from the Borders to Barra.

Since the Fifties and Sixties, however, the decline of some of the most distinguished and notorious names in the Highlands – the clan chiefs of the Frasers of Lovat, the Sutherlands and the Wills tobacco family paved the way for new owners to take to the hills.

Andy Wightman, author of, “Who owns Scotland”, recently published in April, explains: “Some of the old landowners like the Duke of Buccleuch, the Duke of Atholl and Cameron of Lochiel have survived. Their old money is still good and some of their estates have expanded. But other families have fallen on hard times and a new group of landowners has stepped in swiftly to take their place. Many of these are from overseas and as they move in, a new pattern of land ownership is emerging.”

A map of the Highland Clearances : Scotland

All over Scotland there are now glens and peaks that are forever Swiss, Danish, Malaysian, Middle-Eastern and American. One year ago the whisky distilling MacDonald-Buchanan family sold off the Strath Conon estate in Ross-shire, which they had held for three generations. The new kilted monarch of the 50,000-acre glen is Kjeld Kirk-Christiansen, who runs the huge Danish Lego corporation.

On the Hebridean island of Eigg, Keith Schellenberg, the fantastically wealthy former captain of Britain’s Olympic bobsleigh team who once described “his” islanders as “drunken, ungrateful, lawless, barmy revolutionaries”, sold up as part of a divorce settlement with his second wife Margaret Udny-Hamilton. The new laird is the chain-smoking, beret-wearing “fire” painter, “Professor” Marlin Eckhard Maruma from Stuttgart.

Visitors to Queen’s View in Glen Avon, where Queen Victoria used to look out on her Royal fiefdom, now look down on land owned by the mysterious businessman behind the Kuala Lumpur-based Andras conglomerate. He bought the 40,000-acre estate, once owned by the Wills family, for £6m last year.

Some ancient aristocratic families have hit the buffers in spectacular fashion. The Lovat Frasers’ downfall began when three family members died suddenly; one was gored to death by a buffalo in Tanzania, another collapsed while hunting, and the third succumbed to old age.

Others have been crippled by debt. Losses in the Lloyd’s insurance market forced Lord Kimball, a Lloyd’s Name, to sell the 47,000-acre Altnaharra estate in Sutherland. Whatever the cause, the result is that fewer than half of the big Highland estates are owned by Scots.

“It’s a dramatic change,” said George Rosie, the veteran Scottish land- reform campaigner. “In the 19th-century, parliament passed an Act allowing foreigners to buy any property. As Britain was then the biggest rooster on the midden, the idea that any foreigner would be able to buy into Britain was risible. But now there are millions of wealthy foreigners and Scotland is ripe for the plucking. And plucked we have been.”

Some of the new wave of overseas buyers enjoy good relations with locals and have earned environmentalists’ praise for their land management practices. Paul van Vlissingen, the Dutch businessman whose “holiday cottage” is the eight-bedroom white-washed Letterewe lodge on the banks of Loch Maree in Wester Ross, has helped to fund a new swimming pool and re-introduced native woodland on his 80,000-acre estate.

Other lairds, however, have been accused of barring access to walkers and neglecting the natural environment. “Mountain Closed” signs appeared on estates north of Ullapool. In Perthshire, His Excellency Mahdi Mohammed Al Tajir, from the United Arab Emirates who owns the Blackford Estate, home of Highland Spring mineral water, was accused of abandoning farms to nature on the slopes of the Ochil Hills.

Was the Highland Clearances the Main reason for Scottish …

The winds of change are increasing

Nationalist politicians say Scotland’s free market in land (one of the few countries in Europe which allows wealthy foreigners to buy up unlimited amounts of land with no questions asked) has created a “land lottery”. And, while far-sighted landowners are welcome, they say new measures will need to be introduced limiting the size of their holdings and removing property from owners who neglect their land.

The Scottish National Party, set up an independent land commission and unveiled limited new proposals which encouraged the Scottish Crofters’ Commission to support crofting communities in their efforts to raise money to take over their marginal plots. In Scotland, land is suddenly a political issue.

Dr James Hunter, a Skye-based environmental historian, said: “Land has moved up the agenda ever since the first crofters took over their land in Assynt 1992. That showed that land ownership patterns could change. Since then we have had controversies over the Knoydart estate and other Highland wilderness areas. “

The “winds of change” unsettled landowners who launched an unprecedented campaign to counter reformers’ demands. At a special public meeting Graeme Gordon, convenor of the Scottish Landowners’ Federation representing 4,000 estate owners north of the border who manage some seven million acres claimed that the debate over land ownership was based on “dangerous generalisations and misleading assertions”.

He told his audience that the “majority of landowners were committed custodians of natural heritage who provide jobs, housing and security for remote communities often at a personal financial loss”.

The battle for the Highlands is only just beginning.

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