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Nuclear waste UK rail hazard?
July 30, 2006 11:57 AM   Subscribe

A timetable of UK trains carrying nuclear waste. (PDF file). The related Greenpeace UK article. UK nuclear waste train route graphic. Mirror tabloid hack plants fake bomb on nuclear waste train. "The gate was open, there were no security guards. I walked up to the train and planted my bomb". The Guardian's take on the story.
posted by nthdegx (16 comments total)

 
Would an explosion (or derailment) actually release any radioactive waste?

That looked like a pretty small bomb to me.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on July 30, 2006


This could never happen in America. We'd have put that terror-symp journalist in prison a long time ago.
posted by swell at 12:48 PM on July 30, 2006


Why do they hate the UK?
posted by nlindstrom at 1:33 PM on July 30, 2006


Clearly, they need to develop nuclear-waste carrying jet paks. But really, is this as bad as it sounds?
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:53 PM on July 30, 2006


Amazing.

A train in this country that runs on time.
posted by randomination at 3:10 PM on July 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Would an explosion (or derailment) actually release any radioactive waste?

That looked like a pretty small bomb to me.


I'm not a nuclear scientiest (I wanted to abbreviate that to IANUS somehow, but I couldn't) but my understanding of this sort of thing is that an explosion would cause radioactive particles to become airborne making for a nasty cloud of glowing green death.

I'd guess that it wouldn't have to be that big a charge to cause something like that to happen. The Mirror article said the transport was designed to sustain damage from accidents, but not direct attack.
posted by sycophant at 3:24 PM on July 30, 2006


In America, only clowns would try such a thing.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:10 PM on July 30, 2006


an explosion would cause radioactive particles to become airborne making for a nasty cloud of glowing green death.

Actually, probably a dull, grey, boring cloud of death, which is even more concerning.
posted by Jimbob at 4:29 PM on July 30, 2006


Actually, a small bomb is likely to blast a relatively small splotching of (probably) non-glowing grey death onto other cars and the ground.

In order to aerisol a full shipping container, you would need a pretty big blast.

A rental truck full of amonium nitrate could do it. A kleenex box full of c-4. probably not.
posted by Balisong at 6:29 PM on July 30, 2006


Help me out here ... would that be called a "Peace Train" in newspeak?

"Authorities are hot on the trail of the Peace Train bombers ..."
posted by Twang at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2006


Metafilter: I'm not a nuclear scientiest ...
posted by Songdog at 7:50 PM on July 30, 2006


There's an amazing old film clip from, I think, BNFL in the UK. It's a demo from years ago where a high speed locomotive is driven into a nuclear waste shipping container. If memory serves, the train is destroyed in a cloud of smoke, while the container is slightly dented.

I couldn't find the clip online, but there's some similar old footage from the US Dept. of Energy.

Anyhow, I don't know what sort of containers are being discussed by the Mirror because they unhelpfully don't describe them. Typically for that rag, it's long on sensation and short on fact.
posted by normy at 8:24 PM on July 30, 2006


Sellafield's nuclear leak went unreported for three months — the Cumbria, UK nuclear waste processing facility has been a constant source of worry and pollution since its inception.

Security procedures were called "a bit of a joke" by Sellafield safety technician Ron Hanas, who was fired for blowing the whistle on the "accounting loss" of over 30 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, noting as an aside that a section of a uranium fuel rod was found in a worker's desk drawer. Not to mention higher levels of plutonium are found in children's teeth as they live in greater proximity to the plant's epicentre.

It makes one think about US energy "policy" being written behind closed doors, when the multinational contractors behind the nuclear industry can't even be bothered to put basic safety systems in place.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:46 PM on July 30, 2006


Dirty bombs arn't as dangerous as people believe. And I suspect neither is this. But its still nuclear waist and would cause a major economic disruption while people were evacuated for cleanup. Imagine if central London were off limits for a several weeks? otoh, Paris seems to survive each August.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:22 AM on July 31, 2006


Imagine having a "nuclear waist".
posted by matthewr at 6:27 AM on July 31, 2006


A waist is a terrible thing to mind!
posted by pax digita at 6:55 AM on July 31, 2006


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