A wake up call for Capenhurst

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American radioactive Uranium Hexaflouride (UF6) leak signals major concern for North West residents. Sunday (October 26, 2014) night's leak of Uranium Hexaflouride (UF6) from the Honeywell Uranium enrichment plant at Metropolis, Illinois, clearly illustrates the kind of dangers that are inherent in such plants.[1]

Various reports show a cloud of Uranium Hexaflouride drifting away from the plant.[2] Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) is highly toxic, reacts violently with water and is corrosive to most metals.[3]

A similar leak of Uranium Hexaflouride would cause a major disaster within the North West region. Uranium is transported by road (by Advance Uranium Asset Management Ltd.[4]) to Capenhurst from the Ellesmere Port docks, where it is enriched and then taken again by road to the Springfields fuel rod conversion plant near Preston. The Depleted Uranium (DU) is stored at the Capenhurst plant. During all these processes it in the form of a Uranium Hexaflouride.[5]

Close Capenhurst Campaign activist Martyn Lowe said: "This highly toxic gas is constantly being transported along local roads which is a something that should raise public concern, much in the same way that the storage of Depleted Uranium (DU) at Capenhurst is also a major worry."

This is not the only concern about the transport of Uranium Hexaflouride which local campaigners are concerned about. Last year’s fire on the Atlantic Cartier container ship clearly illustrates just what else can happen in the handling of this toxic substance. A separate campaign exists about the transport of UF6 by sea, and in particular how it is taken through Merseyside Docks.[6]