A marine incident not a nuclear incident

But it could have been an oil industry oil incident too.

Off the coast of Scotland, a fire aboard a ship carrying radioactive waste resulted in the evacuation of 52 workers from an oil platform near Cromarty Firth (harbor). The ship, MV Parida, designed to carry dangerous shipments, caught fire and began drifting. The fire was extinguished and the ship was taken in tow. But not before workers were evacuated from one of the oil platforms-as a precaution. The MV Parida is now anchored for repairs. The Cromarty Firth is designated by the EU as Special Protection Area for wildlife conservation purposes.

Originally built in the 1950’s the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) and the Prototype Fast Reactor(PFR), experimental reactors are being decommissioned. Huge storage vaults are now under construction to store radioactive material on the site which will remain restricted for 300 years.

The radioactive cargo was originally sent to Scotland in the 1990’s for reprocessing is now being shipped out due to the plant’s closing. The reprocessed liquid waste is mixed with cement and poured into drums for transporting. This was the 19th of 21 scheduled shipments.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has confirmed the waste was from Dounreay, an experimental nuclear power plant near Thurso which is being decommissioned.The material, which was sent to Dounreay from Belgium for reprocessing in the 1990s, was being shipped back to Belgium.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said the Parida was carrying two containers called flasks, each holding three 500-litre drums of intermediate level waste.The NDA said the ship and its cargo had been categorised at the lowest level of safety concern.

It described Tuesday night's event as a "marine incident and not a nuclear incident".

Okay,call it a marine incident if you want- but a radioactive waste shipment adrift at sea, near oil platforms and a wildlife conservation area – it doesn’t take much imagination to see a potential for so much more than that.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *