Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Toxic O2 Dome


Location, Greenwich Peninsula in Southeast London

This is “Miss Atomic Bomb”, this poster was at a time used to advertise Las Vagas as a tourist resort, and the near by nuclear testing was deemed 100% safe, and even promoted as a tourist attraction! This may seem incredible now, given what we know about nuclear, but at the time people did not question the veracity of the experts claims. History has shown us that the experts lie, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unwittingly, they lie all the same.
 They told us asbestos was safe, many years before the public became aware of asbestos its producers knew how dangerous it was yet promoted and sold it anyway.

The site of the new Olympic Stadium contains 7,3oo tonnes of radioactive waste, it is housed in containers underneath the approach bridge to the site, the experts tell us this is perfectly safe and nothing to worry about!!!!!! And the moon is made of cheese! LINK

The O2 Dome, formerly known as the Millennium Dome will host the gymnastics at the upcoming Olympics, the contamination at the site of the Dome was reported during the furore that surrounded its building, but it has since been forgotten about. I have spent the last few weeks educating myself as to the nature of the contamination. The so called experts tell us it was either treated, removed or contained, and is all perfectly safe now, so let us examine their claims.

To understand the level of contamination at the Dome site, we must travel back in time to 1881, by Dome site I refer to the entire 2 KM long site (300 acres) on the Greenwich Peninsula, which now houses many developments, including The David Beckham Academy, The O2 Arena, North Greenwich Tube Station, a retail Park, a multiplex Cinema, a Hotel, Primary School, Greenwich Millennium Village, and ironically The Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park!
In 1881 the site was mainly marsh and reed beds, known as Brooks Marsh, to the East of the peninsula at Phoenix Wharf there was an existing chemical works, owned by Frank Hills, this site already used tar and ammonia from existing Gas Works.
George Livesey, whose ghost is said to 
haunt the O2 Arena.

The first Gas Works on the site was built under the chairmanship of George Livesey of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, and the works at the Greenwich site was called “The East Greenwich Gas Works”.  Tons of clinker and heavy rubbish were dumped on the site in order to build up the marshy ground. The site stretched for around 2 KM from Blackwall point (SE) towards New Charlton, covering 240 sq acres. Frank Hills existing chemical works was taken over at this time.

The  East Greenwich Gas Works originally manufactured town gas, the coal for production was brought up the Thames, and coke and other chemicals were exported via the Thames. By the 1960’s the gas was produced using oil. There was two very large gas holders, the first built in 1886 which was over 81/2 cubic metres in dimension, the second was the largest in the world at over 12 million cubic feet.
In 1917 the larger of the 2 was damaged in the Silvertown explosion, which occurred on Friday, 19 January 1917 @ 6.52.  Despite this being a very built up area a munitions factory was built to manufacture TNT. 73 people were killed, over 400 injured and thousands were left homeless after 50 tons of TNT exploded at the factory due to negligence. It was damaged again in 1978 by an IRA bomb.
This Pathe News clip from 1950 gives you a glimpse of the extreme nature of the contamination.
This clip is just over a minute long, and I would urge you to watch it, it beggars belief!  LINK

In the 1920’s the Government Fuel Research Station was operational at the site, officially they were researching coal liquefaction in order to make petroleum, and unofficially they were developing chemical weapons (Source Wikipedia). In 1958 they moved operations to Warren Spring Laboratory. LINK
At this point I have not been able to fully establish the nature of all the work carried out at the  Fuel Research Station, but it is known that a Sir Charles Crawley worked there from 1929, during WW2 Crawley was seconded to the petroleum warfare department where he developed fuel for flame throwers. In 1945 he travelled to Nazi Germany in the Army Special Services to examine high-pressure hydrogenation plants. Between 1959-67 he was the Minister of power and the main spokesman on the generation and supply of nuclear energy.
Despite the fact that this man was one of the government’s chief scientists, and received a knighthood for his service, the only mention of him on the net is his obituary! LINK


In 1954 a David Penny joined the research team at the FRS, he was appointed the Chief Development Officer of Scientific and Industrial research. His history was in the development of non-proximity fuses for shells, mortars and land mines. This man also had a long and esteemed career, yet the only mention of him on the net is his Obituary! Given that Wikipedia have pages on the most obscure characters, it is odd that these two esteemed scientists do not have a page.


Prince Philip (right) at the Fuel Research
Centre in 1952
At this point I cannot say for certain if there was nuclear or chemical weapons testing at the site in Greenwich, but I can say with certainty that whatever went on there is shrouded in mystery. Given that Crawley’s post previous to becoming the nuclear spokesman was at the Fuel Research centre in Greenwich, I think it is reasonable to assume there could have been research into nuclear energy at that centre.

 Pathe New Report: Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald visiting the Fuel research Station. MacDonald and other dignitaries wear over jackets to protect them from the dirt. LINK

 Back to the gas Works, in 1949 the plant was taken over by the South Eastern Gas Board following the Nationalisation of the Gas industry. By 1965 the plant was producing 400 million cubic feet of gas, the largest production in the world for a single site. After the introduction of North Sea Gas production at the site ceased in 1976 and the site was vacant for many years before being demolished.

A pre-cast concrete shed at Phoenix Wharf which stored ammonium sulphate was demolished in the 1990’s.

To detail the contaminants at the site, I have had to trawl through many sites, as no one site lists them in their entirety. The contaminants I have logged so far are:

BTex, sulphuric acid, benzene, naphtha (Coal tar) ammonium sulphate fertiliser, foul lime, clinker waste, spent oxide, asbestos, cyanide.
Coal, coke clinker, Nitrogen dioxide, PM10’s, wastes from Tar production, including coal tar and a variety of derivatives.
Heavy metals Cadmium, arsenic, lethal lead.
LINK Telegraph report    LINK: Government web site detailing contamination and costs.


All of the above are known to be hazardous to human health; many of the above substances emit dangerous vapours and gases, some of the substances are highly flammable an combustive, either on their own or when contact is made with other substances.
The following is a much diluted summary of the ill effects caused by some of the above pollutants:
Benzene: Known carcinogen: Proven to cause bone marrow failure, Leukemia, bone marrow abnormalities. Safe level of benzene exposure…ZERO!
Breathing fumes or vapours from benzene, depending on the levels inhaled, can cause death, drowsiness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness.
Benzene targets liver, heart, lungs, blood and brain, and can cause DNA strands to break. Infertility, birth defects, menstrual problems, kidney cancer and a very long list of other diseases have all be proven to be caused by benzene.

“Benzene was first reported to induce cancer in humans in the 1920s. The chemical industry claims it was not until 1979 that the cancer-inducing properties were determined "conclusively" in humans, despite many references to this fact in the medical literature. Industry exploited this "discrepancy" and tried to discredit animal studies that showed that benzene causes cancer, saying that they are not relevant to humans. Benzene has been shown to cause cancer in both sexes of multiple species of laboratory animals exposed via various routes”. LINK

Clinker:
Safety Data report on the effects of clinker
Repeated inhalation of dust containing crystalline silica can cause bronchitis, silicosis (scarring of the lung) and lung cancer.  It may also increase the risk of scleroderma (a disease affecting the connective tissue of the skin, joints, blood vessels and internal organs).
Studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of bronchitis, silicosis and lung cancer in persons exposed to crystalline silica.LINK 


Btex is a combination of benzene, toluene, Ethyl benzene and xylene. All these substances are highly toxic and soluble in water, they all represent a significant hazard to human, animal and environmental well being. LINK


Nitrous Dioxide, known as N2O is a major contributor to Greenhouse Gases which affect the ozone. It is also known as laughing gas and used as anaesthesia. It can precipitate serious neurological damage, exposure effects eyesight, mental performance and dexterity. Long term exposure leads to vitamin B12 deficiency, which in turn causes sensory neuropathy, myelopathy and encephalopathy.
N2O at room temperature is inert, however when either combined with other substances or heated it is explosive. It is used to produce azide salts which is used as a detonator, it is also used to launch rockets.
As with many strong oxidizers, contamination of parts with fuels have been implicated in rocketry accidents, where small quantities of nitrous/fuel mixtures explode due to 'water hammer' like effects (sometimes called 'dieseling' — heating due to adiabatic compression of gases can reach decomposition temperatures). Some common building materials such as stainless steel and aluminium can act as fuels with strong oxidisers such as nitrous oxide, as can contaminants, which can ignite due to adiabatic compression.
There have also been accidents where nitrous oxide decomposition in plumbing has led to the explosion of large tanks”  Source


When the Domes post code SE10 0AX* was fed into a site which accesses the dangers of buying homes in certain areas,(Based on a scale of 1-7, seven being the highest), it revealed that the risk of flooding was 6, subsidence 4, radon gas (implicated in lung cancer) 2, risks from pollution 7, risks posed by waste disposal 6, risk of contamination 6.
Nitrogen dioxide levels were medium-high, and PM10’s (soot particles emitted by diesel engines and implicated in lung cancer) were high-very high). LINK
The Domes post Code changed at some stage and is now SE10 0BB

 The works that contributed to the contamination include:
Former Gas Works and Benzene Plant, Blackwall Point Power Station, Victoria linoleum Works, an asbestos factory, and probably the Government research centre.

The most of the contamination was contained in the surface layer penetrating 2-4 metres in depth; however in specific areas it reached 14 metres down.

Various parties involved in the clean up reported they were under tremendous pressure, they were expected to clean the site up and build the Dome at minimum cost in a very limited time. The Blair/Mandelson duo intent on the Dome going up before the 1/1/2000 deadline were responsible ultimately for the time and financial restraints.

Complete removal and/or treatment of all contamination within the site was considered to be inconsistent with government policy and inappropriate in terms of both practicability and cost effectiveness.
The estimated cost of such an exercise was considered prohibitive and inconsistent with the additional marginal benefits that would be gained, in terms of the future reduction in the residual contamination risk”. Source LINK

Translation of this double speak gobble-gook: We only scratched the surface, and left most of the site still heavily contaminated, firstly because it was to much trouble and our over lords wanted it finished in a hurry, secondly, it would have been way to expensive! We don’t give a fiddlers fook about the health impact on future workers and tenants in the area, time and cost were our primary concerns!


 The Clean Up
Initial clean up was carried out by BAM Nuttall, under contract from English Partnerships, Port Greenwich LTD and London Underground.
They excavated to 15m (49 feet), to remove tar from a deep tar well, 7 million litres of it! They also installed a 100m sheet pile ring around the well site. Approximately 120 tons of benzene and other hydrocarbons were removed from the site.
As the picture to the left clearly demonstrates, even after the Dome roof went up, the site was still clearly contaminated!



The Jubilee Line extension Station is now known as "The North Greenwich Tube Station.
So the area circled in red is where the 25 underground tanks were located.












Extract from Bram Nuttall web site: LINK
"In one location, adjacent to the Jubilee Line Extension station, a total of 25 underground tanks required removal, some up to nine metres below existing ground level. 
The contents were such that the environmental and health monitoring being undertaken became a controlling part of the operation". LINK

This morning (25/04/2012), I spoke to Bam Nuttall's PR spokesman Peter Bishop, I enquired about the tanks and their content. Brian seemed fairly familiar with the operation at the Greenwich site, but could not tell me what was in the tanks. When I mentioned them and enquired into their content he got very agitated. He told me to contact the contractor (English Partnerships), I pointed out that they no longer existed, he said that after a time Nutall's records are sealed away and accessing them is difficult, he also said and I quote "That information may still be confidential"! He admitted he worked for Nuttall's at that time, but could not remember the finer details of the decontamination. Given the above linked quote from Nutall's admits that whatever was in the 25 tanks was such that it hampered the entire clean up, you would think he would remember!
His agitation increased as the conversation progressed, and he questioned my enquiring about it, and said that a large number of people now live and work on that site, and my delving into this would alarm them! I pointed out that if there was still health risks associated with the contamination that I felt people should know, but that was not his opinion.
The upshot of the conversation diluted...no way no how will anyone tell me what was in the 25 tanks, how they were "disposed" off, or the level of remaining contamination from them.
I will try under the Freedom of information act to find out from the Environmental Protection agency what their content was.

This morning I also contacted Greenwich Environmental Health who passed the site as safe, they knew nothing about the mysterious 25 tanks! All information regarding the 25 tanks was withheld from them. A possible explanation for this offered from environmental health, was that if the tanks were connected in some way to waste produced by the Government Fuel Research Centre, then under the Official Secrets Act they would not have been informed about them! So how the hell was the site passed as safe without all relevant data about the site???
Someone will be phoning me back from EH, but the man I spoke to said I might possibly have to request that the Government release the information under the "Freedom of information act", however, if EH were not informed at the time of the 25 tanks, it is most likely that they come under the Official Secrets Act, and so, my request for information would be turned down! I will try regardless.


You may be wondering how the silence of the workers at the site was ensured...well wonder no more, according to this 2009 report, Bam Nuttall was one of 40 construction firms, who illegally availed of the services of another illegal company called "The Consulting Association", for 15 years previous to 2009, this company collected illegal personal data on workers within the construction industry, and then sold it onto to employers within the industry. The information they collected consisted of tittle tattle about construction workers, ie, if they were in a Trade Union, if they were given to complain about matters, and I would assume, if they were guilty of repeating misdemeanour's their employers committed. This information was then used to blacklist workers. It would seem Bam Nuttall only employ good little workers who are compliant and know when to keep their mouths shut! LINK  
This hive of illegal and secret activity was uncovered by the Governments Information Commissioner's Office, however this has not stopped the Government awarding BN a vast amount of Government contracts since then, as BN's own web site demonstrates!  LINK
Bam Nuttall also procured the contract for the Blackwall Tunnel refurbishment which has recently been completed. The Blackwall Tunnel runs under the site at Greenwich. They also have the contract of the new Olympic Village, it would seem the building slump has not effected BM!
LINK Bam Nuttall have also just signed a billion Euro deal with Sarkozy and Cameron to build nuclear reactors!!!!

 In all 200 thousand tons of toxic waste was removed from the Greenwich site….ahhh that’s good your thinking…no actually it is not, they moved it to sites in Weldon in Northamptonshire, Stewarthby in Bedfordshire and Calvert in Buckinghamshire.
Lethal arsenic, cyanide and asbestos formed just part of the toxic soup buried near these villages. MP’s and villagers naturally objected, and as you would expect, “The Experts” assured them there was not one single thing for them to be alarmed about! LINK

“The Times newspaper said 200,000 tonnes of what it described as "potentially lethal waste" had been buried at the sites in a "rush job" to get the Dome finished in time for the year 2000 celebrations”.LINK

I have tried to follow up on the health impacts in the years since this dumping, both in Greenwich and the ”dump”  villages, but for all the information on the net, this is the kind of information that quickly gets removed, and disappears into cyber space. In this link children in the town of Corby were born with birth defects as a result of the shoddy disposal of toxic waste from dismantling a steel works. The effected families had to fight their case for years before liability was established and compensation awarded. I have posted this LINK to demonstrate how they get away with their shoddy approach to dumping toxic waste. When liability was established the local council picked up the tab for the compensation, as they are funded by the public through the poll tax/rates, it was the people of the effected communities who paid the cost, both financially and with their health and well being. Even though individuals are responsible for the mismanagement of toxic waste, no one is ever ever charged with personal liability when the effects of the mismanagement come to light.

From all the reports I have read over the last few weeks on the wholly inadequate decontamination at Greenwich, I can see that already they have laid the foundations to avert blame should there be future compensation claims. Following a well established blueprint, the contractors involved in the clean up have already put it on public record that they were hampered by time and financial restraints, this clears them from liability and shifts the oneness to English Partnerships….and they no longer exist! Future claimants looking to establish blame, will be sent from the environmental agencies who passed the sites safe, to local councils, the decontamination contractors and the now non existent English Partnerships!

English Partnerships was a consortium formed between the Government and business to redevelop areas of the UK for the Millennium projects. Their first development was the Dome, work started in the late 90’s. When Nuttall’s initial clean up ended, English Partnerships took over.

In this case study of the de-contamination of the site, by Forest Research they say:
“The development remediation was then carried out, and involved isolating the residual contamination through the construction of barrier systems to prevent gas and vapour accumulation beneath future buildings”
“Gas control measures were incorporated into the floor of the millennium Dome as a precaution, and in order to carry out monitoring of gas evolution”.
“Cost effectiveness was a key consideration”. LINK

This study reports that 7 million litres of tar was removed, 30,000 m3 of soil was “washed” and 66,000 M3 of contaminated ground water was treated. As mentioned previously 200,000 tons of lethal waste was taken off site.
What this study completely brushes over, is the level of contamination that was neither removed or treated, and in a 2 KM stretch of land the vast majority of the contaminated land remained, as they put it “barrier systems” were put in place to contain the rest of the contamination. The fact that some kind of monitoring system was built into the Dome floor would suggest that under the Dome was one of the sites where contamination remained.
I have now spent weeks trawling through the reports about the contamination at the Greenwich Peninsula, various sites report what was done in the clean up, however, despite the fact that they all admit that a great deal of the contamination remained on site, and was neither removed or treated, I have not been able to establish just how much remained or the level of contamination.

This morning I renewed my car insurance, while I had the lady on the phone I asked her “saying I owned a property, and it was built on a toxic dump, and it had a roof made from Teflon, which could act like a chemical weapon if there should be a fire or explosion….would you insure me?”
After she stopped laughing, she informed me that there was not an insurer on planet earth who would insure such a building! I then phoned then O2, they assured me their building was insured, I have no doubt it is insured, but given the nature of this building I’m gob smacked that anyone would insure it, how the hell did they get insurance?
The very nice lady at the O2 assured me that the security employed by the O2 was sufficient that there would never be any kind of attack there, plus they have no car parks. She was also 100% sure there could never be a fire at the O2! The unsinkable Titanic springs to mind!

Their insurance would not cover them for the environmental. Should you live on a contaminated site from which toxic fumes start to leak, you could be in an even worse position. By a quirk of English law, it is you, the owner, who is liable for the cost of cleaning up the mess. The original polluter and the developer who supposedly cleaned it up before selling it to you escape liability”.LINK

Of all the links available on line about the contamination at the site, this one is probably the most comprehensive, and gives a much more realistic account of the level of contamination. This link also offers more details about the level of contamination neither treated nor removed, but “capped” as they put it. This report also admits that trees at the site had to be planted in containers with imported soil, as the nature of the soil around the Dome site would have killed them! LINK
LINK This link examines the extent of contamination at Olympic venue
LINK 200,000 tons of dome toxic waste moved.
LINK Did the contamination at the Dome site kill Joe ferguson?
LINK Navy’s biggest war ship to be docked at Greenwich during the Olympics

Dome life expectancy
Between the clean up of the Dome site, the building of the Dome, the Millennium Experience Exhibition, its running costs, and the £38 million just for day to day costs the year after the Dome closed, the total cost of the Dome comes in well over £200 million!
Its life expectancy was stated to be 25 years, according to this government  LINK, when English Partnerships sold the Dome and surrounding area to Meridian Delta Ltd and Anschutz Entertainment Group, the agreement reached was that the Dome should remain there until at least 2018, at which point the new owners could demolish or retain it. Given that it was only built to last 25 years, which would take us to 2025, one would assume it would be demolished before 2025.
The demolishing of the Dome would  naturally be very expensive, of course if there was to be a fire, explosion, or some other event which demolished the Dome before then, I expect it is heavily insured, and the owners would be well compensated, plus they would still retain the actual ground for further development…if you get my drift!
The deal between the Millennium Experience (Deptuty prime Ministers Office), English Partnerships, and the buyers Meridian Delta and Anschutz was so complex it took from 2001 to 2005 to finalise the deal.

 Summary

There are only three buildings that can see from outer space, the Dome, the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. In the twelve years since the Dome first opened it’s doors, it has found its place among London’s most well know landmarks…despite the controversy. For a brief period I worked at Canary Wharf, and the Dome is an imposing structure when viewed from over the River Thames. Inevitably it is so much better than the wasteland and toxic dump that was there previously.
My point in researching this matter, is that no matter how much better it is now, and no matter how many jobs and homes have been provided by the clean up of this site, the fact remains they did not do a thorough job and this site is still heavily contaminated. Using the excuse of urgency, it had to be finished for the new millennium, and due to the financial restraints that contractors were burdened with, much of the contamination was left on the Greenwich Peninsula, and the so called experts deemed it safe!
These experts are government employees, the same government that limited spending on the project, and enforced the strict time restraints. You may read the information I have compiled, and chose to agree with the experts, that is your choice, or you may employ your critical thought abilities, and question the lack of transparency with regards to the vast amount of contamination that was left on site which was neither treated or removed.

The nature of the contamination at the site is such, that on the surface everything may look clean and ordered, the nature of particles, vapours, gases and fumes from the waste is invisible, and so those who have been effected in the past, or future, would not even realise what had made them ill.

Over this last year the Government and military have went to great lengths to put on shows of exercises the police and military are conducting, in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics, their point being that Olympic venues could be targets. While giving us daily updates on how many of HMS’s will be employed ensuring the safety of spectators and athletes, they have hidden on the back pages, that the New Olympic Stadium has 7,300 tonnes of radio active waste buried under a bridge on the approach into the stadium! As for the O2 Dome, given the nature of the contamination at this site, should there be a fire or explosion the effects would be catastrophic. The Teflon roof on its own would act like a chemical weapon and the human, animal and environmental costs are immeasurable!

The South Bound Blackwall Tunnel runs under the Dome, I wonder what if any security measures are in place that this tunnel could not be a target to potential attack? Between the tunnel and the Dome floor is tonnes of toxic waste, much of it with combustive properties, an air shaft from the tunnel actually goes through the Dome roof, the Teflon from the roof would explode if subjected to high temperatures, should they be a fire in the tunnel this could have a catastrophic knock on effect. The North Greenwich Tube station is also underground in this general vicinity, and as we have already established, the contamination at this site was so severe that it is still being kept under wraps!

I view the O2 Dome as an accident waiting to happen, which is why I have spent spent a considerable time compiling this information. I have also voiced my concerns to the Environmental Agencies and the O2. I will post relevant responses.

Sandra Barr
On 1 April 1998, Channel 4's "Big Breakfast", ran an April Fool's day joke, in which they showed the Dome's roof on fire! Given the toxic nature of teflon when ignited, the reality of this would be anything but funny! LINK


Details of the contamination at the Olympic Arena:

“Though the authorities have known for some time that radioactive waste was buried in the Olympic Park it is not until now that the scale of the problem has emerged. Documents reveal that more than 7,000 tonnes of waste has been found on site to date, much of it unexpected. Some 7,300 tonnes has been placed in a radioactive storage bunker built into the approach to a bridge in the Olympic Park – within 250m of Stratford International station and around 400 metres from the Olympic Stadium”. Link


LINK 2006 Report from the London Evening Standard which details the highly toxic and radio active nature of the main Olympic stadium.
How ironic that they have chosen "Green" as the theme for the London 2012 Olympics!

Peter Gabriel wrote and preformed the opening ceremony of the O2 Dome, while researching the toxic nature of the Dome, I thought I would look back at the opening. I was shocked to the core at the content, the entire show was very dark and ominous, over a year prior to 9/11, he sang about towers eating people! This Link takes a look at the opening and Gabriel's predictions of doom.


Find me on Facebook

Blog History

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Follow by Email

Blog Archive