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NTAG: Terror threat stops Olympics nuclear trains

Ahead of a planned demonstration in Stratford on Saturday by Nuclear Trains Action Group (NTAG) against nuclear trains passing through London, train operator Direct Rail Services has announced that it has suspended nuclear trains from Sizewell during the Olympics. DRS says: “As responsible operators, we always work closely with our regulators and suppliers in all our areas of operation and making these temporary changes to our spent nuclear fuel movements will ensure that we do not impede on passenger train operators’ ability to deliver an efficient service.”

Dave Polden of NTAG responded by pointing out that the suspension of one or two trains a week would have little impact on passenger train traffic and other freight traffic will continue through the Park. Mark Douglas has also pointed out that if passenger traffic really was the concern then nuclear trains could have been sent through the site during the night. Dave Polden considered the decision had little to do with passenger trains and far more to do with the threat of a terrorist attack.

'If the trains are currently being suspended because of the Olympics, this would have nothing to do with freeing up space for Olympic passenger traffic, but could well have to do with terrorist danger – a successful attack on a nuclear flask that breached it in the vicinity of the Olympic Site would have almost as devastating effect on the Olympics, since it would release high-level radiation which would require mass evacuation and leave a large exclusion zone to which people would be unable to return for months or years.'

NTAG chairwoman Mary Flanagan claimed this as a victory for the campaign: “This is the first we’ve heard of it and we’ve been in talks with them for years. I like to think of this as a victory – we’ve been fighting hard for this. It’s a huge relief.”

Full statement from Dave Polden:

1) Normally one nuclear train a week (or at most two) passes through the Olympic Site (each way), so suspending them during the Olympics won’t free up much room for passenger trains.

2) If they’re concerned about heavy use of the North London Line, they could divert nuclear trains along the much-less used route between Stratford and Gospel Oak via South Tottenham as they did for months last year and this does not seem to be suggested, perhaps because the route goes alongside the Olympic Site.

3) Other freight traffic is not going to be stopped going through the Olympic Site during the Games, it seems. As long ago as March 16th a representative of Transport for London told a meeting of the “Transport Liaison Consultative Group” of Waltham Forest Council, in response to a question as to whether nuclear trains would continue running through the Olympic Site during the Games that “Freight will be scheduled so as to release capacity for passenger trains and the Nuclear Waste Trains will be suspended.”

4) It may well be that Nuclear Trains have already been suspended because of the Olympics. Our very reliable local spotter has seen no nuclear trains leaving Sizewell since April 19th (Just a month after the above statement was made), whereas for the previous three months she had been reporting a much enhanced rate of two nuclear trains a week leaving, each with two flasks of spent nuclear fuel rods. If the trains are currently being suspended because of the Olympics, this would have nothing to do with freeing up space for Olympic passenger traffic, but could well have to do with terrorist danger – a successful attack on a nuclear flask that breached it in the vicinity of the Olympic Site would have almost as devastating effect on the Olympics, since it would release high-level radiation which would require mass evacuation and leave a large exclusion zone to which people would be unable to return for months or years (Like at Chernobyl and Fukushima.)

David Polden.

Nuclear Trains Action Group

La lutta continua!


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