Government advisers show their pro-nuclear colours

Radioactive Waste Management Committee show pro-Nuclear colours

Dump N-waste on local tips, says watchdog
screamed the Guardian [Paul Brown: 6th Sept 2000]

In March 1999, when the DETR proposed to retain the RSA's 400 Bq/Kg threshold for defining radioactive waste, we predicted that the nuclear lobby wouldn't take it lying down.
They need laxer regulation to get rid of their mountains of contaminated waste.

In September 6th 2000 the UK Government's advisers, the Radioactive Waste Management Committee [composed largely of nukes] launched an attack 1 in support of the nukes.

There are two problems with the RWMAC approach:

  • they want the UK to ape the European Commission and adopt supposedly new science on the "radiotoxicity" of individual radioisotopes; thus RWMAC says2
    ... In its recent response to the Government's consultation on implementation of the EU Revised Basic Safety Standards (BSS) Directive (Euratom 96/29), RWMAC commented that: "RSA93 and its associated provisions are based on dated science", and they "should be updated to ensure that they properly reflect the nature of radioactivity and its hazards". In view of these sentiments, RWMAC is disappointed that only minimal changes to RSA93 are intended as a response to the requirements of the revised BSS Directive.
    We reject this because the analysis which they say properly reflect[s] the nature of radioactivity and its hazards is based purely on the physical characteristics of isotopes, not on their biological effects -- a fundamentally ignorant approach which lies at the heart of the underestimation of risk from polluting the environment.
  • Secondly, RWMAC is seeking revision of the UK's one defence against radioactive waste being diluted to bring it below the concentration thresholds which define what is so radioactive that it has to be regulated. (This is vitally important because if they can dilute, then there's no limit to the amount of radioactivity they could release, unregulated, into the environment). [See this link for the detail on this]


1 RWMAC's Advice to Ministers on: The Problems of "Small Users" of Radioactive Material. Published 6th September 2000

2 para 7.6 of RWMAC report

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