A train carrying a nuclear flask, used to transport nuclear waste material between power stations, has been spotted travelling through Bournville station. The train was seen at lunchtime on Thursday 4th November.
Recent mass protests in Germany and France, where a train made up of 14 wagons is making its way to a storage centre in Gorleben, northern Germany, have highlighted public concern over such transports .
In 2006 Greenpeace published a national timetable for nuclear trains. That suggested that a train travelling from Bridgewater to Crewe travels via Worcester and Stourbidge but would not go via the cross-city south line. It’s not known whether the train seen by Bournvillevillage.com was therefore on a diversion or if a different timetable is in operation.
Greenpeace have produced a report on the hazards of carrying nuclear waste by train and suggested that “if a train travelling through these stations is subjected to terrorist attack, 350,000 people may be evacuated. 8,000 could die in the long-term from the effects of radiation.”
The flasks themselves have been subject to stringent safety tests including being involved in a staged train crash in 1984 and heated to 800 degree Celsius. There have been incidents of derailments and collisions involving the flasks but to date no reported leaks. However, figures show that the number of incidents involving nuclear materials on all transport forms rose from four in 1972 to 35 in 2001.
Planning for dealing with major incidents in the City falls to the multi-agency Birmingham Resilience team who have created an emergency plan for incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials.
Top pic of nuclear flask train by D Harte; bottom pic of train near Kiddeminster by Frosted Peppercorn