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Earthquake risks for proposed coal mine in Cumbria, all too close to Sellafield nuclear site

Geotechnical experts have urged caution over claims from a campaign group
that the proposed Cumbrian coal mine could cause earthquakes. Before the
start of the public inquiry into the mine – which began yesterday –
campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland said that the development poses
induced earthquake and subsidence risk. The group believes that “mining
induced seismicity is likely to occur” at the coal mine, and also
emphasised that nuclear waste site Sellafield is 8km away.

“The majority
of anthropogenic-related earthquakes were caused by coal mining and the
decline in their numbers from the 1980s to the 2000s was concurrent with a
decline in UK coal production,” Radiation Free Lakeland said. “The coal
mine will induce earthquakes in the vicinity of the world’s riskiest
nuclear site – that is a given – let’s hope and pray that the massive
silence from NGOs over the nuclear elephant in the room does not give the
government (who are employing the coal boss) wriggle room to approve the
coal mine.

“We urge all those speaking against the mine at the public
inquiry to give at least a mention to the fact that this coal mine would
mine out voids faster than any previous coal mine in UK history and would
induce earthquakes and cause subsidence in the Irish Sea and Sellafield
area.” Geotechnical specialist Clive Edmonds said that “in principle,
mining can induce low magnitude, shallow depth earthquake activity”.
“Such activity has been noted in many former coal field areas where
several different depth coal seams underlying each other were extracted in
close proximity to fault lines,” he said.

However, Edmonds emphasised
that “whether and to what degree” the Cumbrian coal mine will cause
earthquake activity “will depend upon the specific mine design and
development plan over time taking account of the known regional structural

 New Civil Engineer 8th sept 2021

September 11, 2021 - Posted by | safety, UK

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