Sellafield struggles with radioactive gulls
Sunday 11 September 2005
It has been revealed that deep in the bowels of the Cumbrian nuclear plant there is a freezer packed with an expanding mountain of radioactive gulls.
They are the result of a controversial culling policy operated at the Britain's most notorious nuclear site for more than a decade. And no one has a clue what to do with them.
The explanation is as follows: seagulls and pigeons would land at Sellafield and then fly on, potentially carrying hazardous radiation.
Therefore, stung by criticism from local people, the managers at BNFL employed sharpshooters to kill any birds which were rash enough to land on the premises. Those that are killed are designated low-level nuclear waste and have to be put in a freezer because of contamination worries. Normally BNFL would dump its low level waste at Drigg, a site a few miles up the coast. But there is another, unpleasant twist.
Since the seagulls would decay if they were left out in the elements, they were deemed "putrescent" and had to be stored in a large industrial freezer similar to those used by Tesco or Asda to transport frozen foods.
A spokesman for BNFL could not say exactly how many gulls and pigeons were in the deep freeze but was willing to speculate. "We are adding to the store all the time so we do not count them. But given the size I'd say it was in the hundreds," he said.
These days, BNFL's subsidiary, British Nuclear Group, manages Sellafield for a new government body, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, which is charged with cleaning up Britain's nuclear sites.
BNG is having to decide how it might dispose of the birds as part of the new attitude to nuclear waste. It is planning to build a special landfill site where it could tip the birds, but no decision has yet been made.
Meanwhile the deep freeze continues to fill.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...