I refer to recent publicity regarding the campaign to have emergency towing vessels based in the western and northern isles (Pressure builds to keep emergency tug; SN, 7/12/15) and would wish to draw attention to the proposal from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to transport nuclear waste by sea from Scrabster to Barrow – a distance of over 400 miles.
This high level nuclear waste/spent fuel emanates from the Dounreay nuclear site and is intended for Sellafield – described as “the most toxic nuclear site in Europe”.
The campaigning group HANT (Highlands Against Nuclear Transport) has been campaigning since 2013 to stop these plans on the grounds that the risk to the environment, fishing, aquaculture and tourism is unacceptable.
Transporting nuclear waste by sea is opposed by environmental groups throughout the world, and HANT is of the view that all nuclear waste should remain on the sites where it is produced which is in line with Scottish Government policy.
HANT provided an input at an NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) seminar in Lerwick in August 2015 on Transportation of Dounreay’s nuclear materials by rail or by sea to Sellafield – is it a safe solution for reducing the nuclear legacy in Scotland? and was pleased to hear from SIC and KIMO representatives at that seminar that they supported HANT’s position.
The need for emergency response vessels stationed around the northern isles and western isles is important to safeguard these coasts against marine accidents and emergencies of any kind but the need is increased by the proposal to transport nuclear waste.
As is well known nuclear radiation knows no land or sea boundaries so this issue is of concern to all coastal communities in the Highlands and Islands.
HANT will continue to campaign on this issue and would urge individuals and interested organisations to support this campaign
Vice- Chair Highlands Against nuclear Transport (HANT)