Nuclear power stations pause pest control

There are unconfirmed reports that England’s nuclear power stations have cancelled pest control while Natural England solves the general licences debacle.

Under pressure from animal rights activists, Natural England introduced a ban on pest bird shooting on 25 April 2019. Read the full story here.

Pest control company NBC Environment at work at Chapelcross. Full story here

Pest control is essential for the smooth running of nuclear power stations, preventing birds from clogging exhaust pipes with nesting material, stopping them being sucked into the fission and decay processes, and keeping them away from hazardous radioactive waste.

Neither Sellafield Ltd, nor the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority are able to confirm this story, which comes from an undisclosed source in the pest control industry.

Pest control at sensitive nuclear sites is usually unreported. In 2010, The Times reported that the 645-acre Sellafield plant, then Western Europe’s most heavily contaminated industrial site, was being overrun by seagulls. Managers planned a cull of seabirds swimming in open ponds containing plutonium and radioactive waste, some of which date back to Britain’s atomic weapons programme of the 1950s and 1960s.

In 2015, Abate Pest Management completed Bird Proofing work on the Sizewell Nuclear Power Station in Suffolk. Reported here, it was called to the site after pigeons caused issues with part of the building. The birds were making a mess on the roof with their droppings. If not dealt with correctly, guano from pigeons can result in permanent damage to the structure of the building. Abate installed bird netting as a barrier to prevent the pigeons landing on the roof.

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