Archives for posts with tag: toxic waste


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,517

Tuesday 09 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

It has come to my attention that depleted uranium (DU) is used in fracking in what are called Perforation Guns. Perforation guns are small explosive devices which when detonated fracture the surrounding rock formation prior to the high pressure injection of fracking fluid. Depleted uranium is 60% as radioactive as naturally occurring Uranium and has a radioactive half-life of 4.5bn years (which is the current age of the Earth). Whilst it is accepted that DU is toxic, just how toxic and how dangerous is a matter of ongoing study and dispute.

The use of DU weapons in Iraq has been widely condemned and official Iraqi government statistics show that cancers in Iraq have increased from 40 out of 100,000 people prior to the Iraq wars to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people in 2005. It is estimated that ‘350 tons of DU munitions (was used) in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation’. So far as fracking is concerned it is clear that such concentrations would not occur nor spread so violently as in the insanity of war.

However, fracking involves the use of fracking fluid with is a toxic mix of chemicals and millions of gallons of water. It’s extraction rate from wells is between 20% to 40% leaving a significant toxic brew underground at each site (to go who knows where?), plus millions of gallons of toxic waste about which not a single informative word has been said by government about it’s safe disposal. Ineos, which holds 21 shale licences in the UK, has said that after ‘treatment’ the waste water could be dumped in the sea. Remind me, when was the last time anyone cleaned up nuclear waste via some kind of chemical treatment plant? I am sure the nuclear industry would like to hear from them.

In 2014 ‘radioactive water from Cuadrilla’s fracking operations was handled at United Utilities treatment works in Davyhulme’ and subsequently dumped in the Manchester Ship Canal leading to questions being asked by MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, demanding to know why.

The Independent newspaper guesstimates that families could receive between £5,000 and £20,000 in bribes to allow fracking in their areas, yet fracking is increasingly being banned across the globe. The hazards are legion. The UK has already had two earthquakes near Blackpool confirmed by Cuadrilla as being caused by their drilling site at Preese Hall. Families need to ask themselves what a potential environmental and human disaster is worth and what undisclosed motive you have for offering bribes? It is an unprecedented step and one that should be treated with the gravest suspicion. How much are our communities worth and how much is the future of our children worth? If anyone thinks they are worth putting at risk for £5,000 to £20,000 they need their heads examined. The Sun might be telling its readers that the bribes are worth it, but when did Rupert Murdoch and his rag ever give a damn about its readership? Fracking in the UK should be banned not foisted on us through corrupt bribes.

Depleted Uranium And The Iraq War’s Legacy Of Cancer

List of Bans Worldwide

The benefits of fracking to the UK are well worth PM Theresa May’s £10,000 ‘bribe’


11_january_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,312

Monday 11 January 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I think you need to have a word with UK insurance companies. It seems they do not share your confidence that fracking is safe. Two thirds of UK insurers will not insure against fracking damage which could include contaminated water in areas prone to flooding and groundwater contamination. Fracking in areas prone to flood? The very idea is insane.

Whatever evidence you have on how safe fracking is, clearly insurance companies have either not seen it or they don’t believe it and consider fracking a considerable risk. I appreciate that insurance companies are risk averse, they are, after all, not in the business to lose money, but if fracking is so safe, why is the insurance money market not accepting that fracking is low risk?

The amount of fracking fluid left in the ground varies, reportedly it can be from 5 and 90 percent. It should hardly need saying that flood victims do not want fracking toxic waste added to the toxicity of flood waters.

Of course if insurance companies are not prepared to cover fracking risks there are no prizes for guessing who will have to pick up the bill for the clean-up operations – the great British public cash cow.

Given the cuts in flood defences it is looking more and more cynically as if flooding is just another transfer of public wealth into private hands thus adding to the shrinking state, money that would have benefited all were it invested in flood protection is siphoned into massively expensive clean up operations in areas where flooding could have been entirely prevented.

And, of course, no amount of money can begin to cover the personal trauma and distress of those whose lives are devastated by flooding, including the loss of any very personal and precious family mementos.

There have already been earthquakes related to fracking in the UK, and whilst they were fairly low magnitude, typical of earthquakes in the UK, that does not excuse exposing people to such additional risks. Oklahoma, a major fracking area in the US, which historically experiences 2 earthquakes a year above level 3 on the Richter scale, experienced 585 such quakes in 2014 and 842 in 2015.

It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” That very much has to include preventable disasters from flooding and fracking.