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Would you buy a brand new house, next to a nuclear waste dump site?

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A 13 million pound development at Crich in Derbyshire has come into criticism as it is being built next to a nuclear waste dump. 113 houses are being built on the site where the nuclear marine business of Rolls-Royce (which makes nuclear reactors for Royal Navy submarines) had dumped low-level nuclear waste a few years ago. Crich is known to a lot of people as being home to the National Tramway museum and the area although outside the Peak district is also known for its rural scenery.

http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/village-resident-in-contamination-fear-over-homes-plan/story-30155895-detail/story.html

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26 minutes ago, Horridbloke said:

Tiny rooms, projected 40-year life of building, no parking, tiny excuse for a garden, four toilets. No way.

It is still 50 years, although they reckon that all housing will need to last 1000 years at the rate of housing not being built!

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44 minutes ago, onlyme2 said:

Define low level waste!

Open drums, no pit lining, looks like simple hole in the ground. Not exactly controlled.

Low-level waste means contaminated materials with low levels of radioactivity, considered to be of very low risk, but higher than would commonly be found in the natural environment - e.g. an activity of below 4 GBq/tonne for alpha emitting materials. This would typically be things such as protective equipment (gloves, overalls) which have been used for handling nuclear fuel or doing maintenance, mops/buckets/etc, smoke detectors, waste from uranium refining, etc. 

Typically, it doesn't include very low contamination materials (less than 4 MBq/m3) which are considered sufficiently low activity, that they can be disposed of as normal commercial waste. It's worth pointing out that wood has an activity of approx 4 MBq/m3.  

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1 minute ago, ChumpusRex said:

Low-level waste means contaminated materials with low levels of radioactivity, considered to be of very low risk, but higher than would commonly be found in the natural environment - e.g. an activity of below 4 GBq/tonne for alpha emitting materials. This would typically be things such as protective equipment (gloves, overalls) which have been used for handling nuclear fuel or doing maintenance, mops/buckets/etc, smoke detectors, waste from uranium refining, etc. 

Typically, it doesn't include very low contamination materials (less than 4 MBq/m3) which are considered sufficiently low activity, that they can be disposed of as normal commercial waste. It's worth pointing out that wood has an activity of approx 4 MBq/m3.  

Umm, might be at that level (radioactivity per tonne when first dumped) but in the wrong conditions if the radioactive contamination leaches off the surface off that material then the standing water could be way more than 4GBq/tonne. 

Noticed from this site below a note about LLW being compacted in drums - from picture at original link not exactly in drums and compacted when tipped!

http://resources.schoolscience.co.uk/nirex/wastech2pg2.html

 
    Containers for radioactive waste must do three things:
  • Prevent wastes from escaping into the environment.
  • Absorb hazardous radiation.
  • Allow heat to escape.

Compacted in drums before disposal in landfill site (Drigg, Cumbria).

 

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In principle, there shouldn't be much of a concern with LLW. The problem is that dumping at this site started in the 60s, so it's far from clear what condition the site was in at the outset, and it is not entirely clear that some of the early material would necessarily meet modern definitions. 

Normal practice these days is to compact the waste, because once compacted you need a smaller landfill site, and it makes transportation/handling cheaper, as most LLW tends to be stuff like wrappers, protective clothing, etc. 

From what I can gather, the main activity at this dump site is cobalt-60, which is produced in steel which is placed near an operating reactor. There have been claims that residents have surveyed the environs and found traces of cobalt-60. Although, this is denied by the environment agency who have a groundwater surveillance programme, which has apparently been negative (apparently one test was positive, but repeats were negative, and procedural problems were found at the test laboratory, suggesting that the positive result was incorrect; there has also been a positive test for Cesium, but this was apparently traced to Chernobyl). As it is, the half life of cobalt-60 is short (<6 years), and no waste has been dumped since 2002. So, Cobalt 60 activity would now be around 15% of what was present when the tip was closed.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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Seems even more odd that drums were not at least sealed / epoxy coated before dumping as that would prevent leaching for a good few decades I would have thought by which time the radiative contamination would have reduced significantly as per your example before any chance of leaching out.

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1 hour ago, ChumpusRex said:

Low-level waste means contaminated materials with low levels of radioactivity, considered to be of very low risk, but higher than would commonly be found in the natural environment - e.g. an activity of below 4 GBq/tonne for alpha emitting materials. This would typically be things such as protective equipment (gloves, overalls) which have been used for handling nuclear fuel or doing maintenance, mops/buckets/etc, smoke detectors, waste from uranium refining, etc. 

Typically, it doesn't include very low contamination materials (less than 4 MBq/m3) which are considered sufficiently low activity, that they can be disposed of as normal commercial waste. It's worth pointing out that wood has an activity of approx 4 MBq/m3.  

Lots of natural materials would be classified as low level waste if they came out of a reactor, including the stuff sent up the chimney of coal powered stations. .

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1 hour ago, ChumpusRex said:

In principle, there shouldn't be much of a concern with LLW. The problem is that dumping at this site started in the 60s, so it's far from clear what condition the site was in at the outset, and it is not entirely clear that some of the early material would necessarily meet modern definitions. 

Normal practice these days is to compact the waste, because once compacted you need a smaller landfill site, and it makes transportation/handling cheaper, as most LLW tends to be stuff like wrappers, protective clothing, etc. 

From what I can gather, the main activity at this dump site is cobalt-60, which is produced in steel which is placed near an operating reactor. There have been claims that residents have surveyed the environs and found traces of cobalt-60. Although, this is denied by the environment agency who have a groundwater surveillance programme, which has apparently been negative (apparently one test was positive, but repeats were negative, and procedural problems were found at the test laboratory, suggesting that the positive result was incorrect; there has also been a positive test for Cesium, but this was apparently traced to Chernobyl). As it is, the half life of cobalt-60 is short (<6 years), and no waste has been dumped since 2002. So, Cobalt 60 activity would now be around 15% of what was present when the tip was closed.

Modern test equipment is so sensitive you can find almost anything anywhere - a few years ago I had a tour of a forensic lab where one of the technicians, when asked how sensitive the equipment was, proudly said if you went into the middle of Wembley stadium and farted I could find shit on the walls.  

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Probably be okay for housing -- better than using it for farming, say. It is leaching into the groundwater that's the main problem with low level waste.

I've looked at worse -- I once looked at a place (with a huge garden), which was fine apart from the small-print in the particulars that stated 'no digging on site to a depth greater than 1.2m'.  

Because of the unexploded munitions.

Funnily enough I didn't buy that place.

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I wouldn't be bothered about living at or near this tip, the sort of waste dumped here would be quite innocuous in comparison to other tips that I know about. All proper LLW goes to Drigg in Cumbria and many other tips are licensed for even lower level stuff. There is more chance of nasty stuff at your regular tips, both regular landill and industrial waste through either it sneaking in or illicit dumping. There are also tips in virtually every county of the UK that were used in the 1950s & 60s that contain low level rad waste plus ex-military sites where burning of instrumentation and equipment took place. If you look you will find.

I remember stories locally from the 1980s of tankers turning up in the dead of night and being covertly buried whole at one tip next to the M62.

I would be more worried about what is not public knowledge than what is.

 

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On 23/02/2017 at 9:46 PM, ChewingGrass said:

I wouldn't be bothered about living at or near this tip, the sort of waste dumped here would be quite innocuous in comparison to other tips that I know about. All proper LLW goes to Drigg in Cumbria and many other tips are licensed for even lower level stuff. There is more chance of nasty stuff at your regular tips, both regular landill and industrial waste through either it sneaking in or illicit dumping. There are also tips in virtually every county of the UK that were used in the 1950s & 60s that contain low level rad waste plus ex-military sites where burning of instrumentation and equipment took place. If you look you will find.

I remember stories locally from the 1980s of tankers turning up in the dead of night and being covertly buried whole at one tip next to the M62.

I would be more worried about what is not public knowledge than what is.

 

 

Where I grew up, it was revealed in the local newspaper that throughout the 60s & 70s LLW levels of radioactive dust had been spread around during military exercises in the area.  Needless to say, they didn't tell any of the locals beforehand.

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