There is a popular blog
which focuses on cringe-worthy adverts and logos showing happy lambs (pigs, cows and other 'meats') on their way to slaughter.
But, vegetarian that I am, that's not the focus of this post. Oh no, it's far worse.
Nigh on 30 years ago I was an objector at the Windscale Inquiry
, as I wrote here
on May 9th two years ago.In 1977, as a then local resident, I was an objector at the Application by British Nuclear Fuels Limited for outline planning permission for a 'plant for reprocessing irradiated oxide nuclear fuels and support site services; at their Windscale and Calder Works, Sellafield, Cumbria, commonly known as the Windscale Inquiry.
My thesis was that far from reducing local unemployment, the smokescreen of Cumbria County Council, the skilled workers to be recruited would inevitably have dependent families who would actually add to the local labour pool.
This was one of the few points accepted by Judge Parker, and subsequently proven true. Being unemployed at the time, I attended most of the 100 days that the inquiry lasted, which is how I became a volunteer in a radiation monitoring exercise. Sellafield was already noted for the release, accidental or otherwise, of levels of supposedly non-hazardous liquid waste into the Irish Sea. The contention of the objectors was that the water currents were carrying irradiated waste around Britain's coast and thereby contaminating the East coast of Ireland, the western shoreline of Scandinavia and the northern coasts of Europe.
(Yes, the biggest fear locally was the potential for radioactive leaks, because there had already been many
. And more than enough
for members of the Irish Parliament to call for the closure of Sellafield
twenty years ago. Unfortunately, I believe it is just the nuclear power plant which is due for closure. The reprocessing and temporary storage of irradiated fuel must continue.)
The experiment was simple: fish were caught at varying points off West Cumbria and Scotland, and we volunteers ate very well for the six (?) weeks of the exercise. Periodically we were allowed into the Sellafield plant where we stripped off, had lengthy showers with some of the best soap I have ever used, and then we were put inside a lead-lined 'coffin' for our bodies to be monitored for our levels of Caesium 137
, which had long been known to accumulate in fish
Interestingly, the lead in the monitoring machine, to use its technical term, was taken from ships that had sunk before the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The theory was that this lead would have been uncontaminated with airborne radioactivity.What is mentioned in Box 3, File 30, No. 277 and Box 31, File 326 and elsewhere is the 'Voluntary whole body monitoring subsequent to the consumption of local fish'. My then family and cat named Mouse ate very well for six weeks. And my level of Caesium 137 rose significantly.
So I was a volunteer, albeit seizing the opportunity to supplement the dole-enforced diet of the time.
Now, in the wake of the news I shared yesterday of body parts being kept at Sellafield, comes another ominous leak and, to my mind, one even more damaging than Caesium 137.Documents obtained by UK Sunday paper, The Observer, show that the experiments on the organs of the dead workers at Sellafield were being conducted at the same time as government scientists were using volunteer employees at the plant as guinea pigs.
One experiment involved volunteers drinking doses of caesium 134, a radioactive isotope that was released in fatal quantities following the Chernobyl disaster. Other experiments involved exposing volunteers to uranium, strontium 85, iodine 132 and plutonium.
The revelation raises questions over whether the volunteers suffered early deaths or illness due to their exposure.
The experiments, which started in the Sixties, were considered so controversial that Sellafield drew up a covert PR strategy to deflect possible media attention.A spokesman for BNFL, the company that now runs Sellafield, declined to comment while the independent investigation into the removal of organs from bodies of former workers at the plant was still under way.
So the cover up continues.
By the way, for some reason today is designated Earth Day
(as is March 20th
Shouldn't every day should be Earth Day?