Note about video above: KIMO do not promote or condone this direct action as it is detrimental to long-term attempts to diplomatically solve the problem of nuclear transport. The video is designed to illustrate the ease at which terrorists could board a unequipped nuclear transportation vessel at sea.
CASE STUDY: The Atlantic Osprey: A Vessel Fit for Purpose?
In November 2007, Sweden made the decision to suspend the transportation of nuclear waste through UK waters. The Swedish Minister of the Environment, Mr Andreas Carlgren said his country would “…cease sending shipments of nuclear waste to the Sellafield plant, in Cumbria England, and take back the equivalent of the deliveries already made…" Councillors in Shetland were warned about the potential risk of the freight ship, Atlantic Osprey, a former roll-on roll-off cargo ferry, sailing past the northern isles with shipments of nuclear fuel. John Mouat, the KIMO Secretariat, criticised the Atlantic Osprey saying there were more suitable vessels to ship what he called an "extremely dangerous cargo”. A Green Party MSP said it was a "floating target for terrorists" and Friends of the Earth called it "irresponsible". Asmund Kristofferson, chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, said in the future all nuclear waste would be stored in Sweden. Source: Press and Journal, 17th November 2007.
Below is a table illustrating the shocking inadequacies of the Atlantic Osprey's capacity to safely transport nuclear waste in comparison to the fully equipped Pacific Pintail vessel.
KIMO is committed to pursuing solutions to these types of problems. The Swedish government’s decision to cease the transportation of nuclear waste through UK waters was very important, as the vessel was dangerously inadequate for the task. More importantly, it was the principle of transporting nuclear fuel from its original country through foreign waters which lay at the heart of KIMO’s vociferous protests. Our policy is to 'concentrate and contain' nuclear waste at its place of production, rather than offloading the problem to other countries. Infrastructure must be put in place to facilitate the safe containment of nuclear waste at its place of origin.
The transportation of nuclear waste is also a high-profile target for terrorist attack. Ill-equipped vessels such as the Atlantic Osprey would be unable to fend off attack from the air or sustain a seaborne blast on its thin hull. Even the most equipped military vessels are vulnerable to attack, as the bombing of the USS Cole highlighted. The time it would take a small inflatable vessel to approach, rest beside and detonate an explosive device would be a mere matter of minutes.
Similarly, the way in which a Greenpeace speedboat could cruise up to the Atlantic Osprey (see video at the top of the page) was alarming. Within minutes they had successfully placed two activists onto the Osprey's deck - long before any crew members had noticed. They could have been a band of terrorists with intentions to cause a major disaster which could seriously impact upon the health of the United Kingdom's marine environment.
The sinking of the Braer oil tanker on the South coast of Shetland in January 1993 demonstrated the dangerous reality of transporting goods across Northern Europe's oceans. The unpredictability of Europe's brutal weather conditions combined with the large number of poorly equipped vessels could result in environmental disasters of epic proportions. The environmental ramifications of a cargo ship, such as the Atlantic Osprey, depositing its radioactive cargo into the ocean are inconceivable - for both sea life and humans. For this reason alone radio-active/nuclear material should never be shipped across oceans and past coastal communities.
The elimination of all discharges of radioactive substances into Europe's seas is central to KIMO policy; the long distance transportation of nuclear waste makes the achievement of such an objective more difficult.
Above is a map of the extent of nuclear waste/fuel transportation around Europe
Cooperation with Nuclear Free Local Authorities...
KIMO International cooperates with Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) at the OSPAR Commission Radioactive Substances Committee (RSC). The NFLA is a local government organisation in the UK and Ireland that lobbies on a range of nuclear issues, including emissions in the marine environment and maritime transport. Under the agreement, the NFLA is an Associate Member of KIMO and NFLA representatives attend RSC meetings on KIMO's behalf. By working closely together at the OSPAR Commission, the two organisations can more effectively scrutinise nuclear activities and lobby for the highest standards of marine environmental protection. Find out more about Nuclear Free Local Authorities.
Information and Resources Centre
Learn more about KIMO's nuclear actions