Save the Whale and the Snail: Stop Nuclear Waste Services Blasting the Irish Sea

Save the Whale and the Snail: Stop Nuclear Waste Services Blasting the Irish Sea

54,423 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!
Petition to
Nuclear Waste Services and

Why this petition matters

Started by Marianne Birkby

UPDATE: the seismic testing has taken place despite our vigorous campaign and over 50,000 signatures.  Disastrous impacts on marine life already seen including mass jellyfish strandings with displaced and dead harbour porpoises on the beaches adjacent to the testing.   The petition will be kept open as the seismic testing was just the beginning of the coming onslaught on the Irish Sea in order to deliver a deep and very VERY hot nuclear waste dump (called a Geological Disposal Facility)  1000m deep and 25km square.  This cannot be allowed to continue - #GDFOFF 

Original Petition Text below...

Seismic testing will begin this summer in the Irish Sea ...

....unless we can stop it.

THE PLAN: A ship in the Irish Sea will fire blasts of sound from air guns every 10 seconds for four weeks or more. This sound penetrates deep under the ocean floor to relay information about the geology.  The sound in the ocean from airguns can travel thousands of miles from the source.

WHY: Nuclear Waste Services (under the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) have been looking at the deep disposal of hot nuclear wastes. Under the Irish Sea is being actively considered. Seismic testing is preparation for: "Delivery of a Geological Disposal Facility."  The CEO of West Cumbria Mining (currently focussed on coal) is advising Government on the digging of an enormous vault (or two) of 25km square.  These vaults would be used to "dispose" of nuclear wastes and this seismic survey is the opening salvo in the quest for sub-sea "disposal" of heat generating nuclear wastes.

WHO DECIDED? There has been no public consultation or vote, Nuclear Waste Services, Radioactive Waste Management, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the handful of people on the Mid-Copeland "Community Partnership" (who do not represent the public ) decided to green light the plan over the heads of the public.  Shearwater GeoServices have been contracted to carry out the seismic survey.  Their damaging airgun blasting has been successfully opposed, for example,  off the coast of South Africa "an incredibly beautiful and biodiverse zone and important migration area for sea life."

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Not only could creatures like whales, dolphins and seals in the Irish Sea be harmed, but everything down to tiny shellfish and even plankton could be impacted. Effects from blasting, can cause  deafness to marine life and impair ability to navigate and find food.   The Irish Sea is a Marine Protected Zone because of its wealth of biodiversity and vulnerable species. 

Please sign and share with your family and friends and let the UK authorities know that that seismic testing of the Irish Sea for a deep nuclear dump is not acceptable. 

Save the Whale and the Snail!


(photo credit:   Silvana Palacios)


"Surveys are due to take place off the coast of Mid and South Copeland for around three – four weeks this summer between July and August to deepen understanding about the nature of the deep rocks beyond the coast. This is part of the work required within the siting process for the underground elements of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)." Mid-Copeland Partnership

"Seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean. During seismic surveys, ships pull large arrays of airguns that release loud pressurized blasts of air through the ocean and into the seafloor. Noise from airguns can disturb, injure or kill marine animals from zooplankton, the base of the food web, to large whales. " Oceana

"Minke whales are generally spotted alone or in small feeding groups feasting on schools of fish or krill. They are what is known as a "gulp feeder", meaning they take a huge gulp of fish and push the seawater out through the baleen plates that line their mouths. You can sometimes spot minke whales lunge feeding into a school of fish near the surface." Living Seas North West

"investigation initially focuses on the deep geology within the inshore area up to 22km beyond the coast." Mid-Copeland Community Partnership

"The findings of the present study add to an expanding body of work indicating that marine invertebrates demonstrate physiological impacts and changes to behavioural/reflex capacity in response to exposure to anthropogenicaquatic noise. Negative impacts from seismic surveys have now been reported following simulated exposure in the lab-oratory, field exposure under controlled experimental conditions, and incidental exposure in the wild. "  Royal Society Publishing

The government's strategy to overcome its failure to find a safe nuclear disposal site as follows:

*Wait 15 years, commissioning no substantive new research.
*Remove the right to future planning inquiries.
*Find a 'volunteer community'- i.e. West Cumbria.
*Remove evidence of the planning inquiry where possible.
*Present the inquiry failure as a local technical difficulty at one particular locality (Longlands Farm).
*Ignore the detailed national search carried out by the British Geological Survey in the 1980s.
*Pretend that we don't yet know enough about the area, geologically,  to rule it out.
*Ignore international guidelines and practice on repository safety.
*Wrongly claim that other countries have solved the siting problem by volunteerism, and ignoring the geology.
*Spend £1M per annum on PR in West Cumbria.
*Buy off local councils with bribes ('community benefit packages').

Prof David Smythe

Sellafield (Radioactive) Particles Whats the Story? by the Environment Agency   

Record number of radioactive particles found on the beaches near Sellafield    The Guardian

"The seabed here ranges from fine sand to mixed and coarse sediment, providing a home for a variety of animals such as anemones, sea urchins, bivalves (animals with paired, hinged shells), starfish, and bryozoans (“moss animals”). The site is especially important for the protection of subtidal coarse sediment habitats and the communities supported by them, particularly in deep water." Wildlife Trusts

54,423 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!