C DAVISON seems to have misunderstood my comments on the Nuclear Waste proposal at Seal Sands (HAS, Feb 21).

I agree completely that burning waste is a concern but this is not what’s proposed, I can only hope that the incinerator operators are required to ensure that their emissions comply with all the pollution laws and are adequately policed.

Possibly he doesn’t understand what Low Level Nuclear Waste is: it’s mainly laboratory or industrial waste that comes from a nuclear facility but cannot be proved not to be radioactive.

The worst it can be is about as radioactive as the same quantity of Brazil nuts.

The definitions are available on the Nuclear Regulator’s website. I’ve worked with this regulator and, believe me, they’re strict and careful.

He should also note that most low level waste isn’t associated with nuclear power stations. The commonest source is the NHS and its suppliers from radiotherapy and the like. There is also a lot of natural sources, oil refineries, detergent manufacturers come to mind.

Mr Davison suggests that it should be burned, but this betrays lack of knowledge.

Burn nuclear material and you may reduce its volume but the radioactivity is unchanged, atoms don’t burn, and you have to install fancy filters to clean the off-gasses. The extra volume of filters is one reason why low level waste isn’t usually incinerated – it doesn’t really help.

No, it’s been shown by many studies that the best thing to do with low level waste is to let time sort the problem. Most atoms become inert after a few years and those that don’t are no more dangerous than lead.

I managed the plans to dismantle and remove the worn-out Sizewell A power station in Suffolk. Eighty years after shutdown workers can enter all parts of the reactors to scrap them with no more protection that a plastic air-suit, the radioactivity decays that quickly.

The big question, in my mind, is what about the toxic residues from the chemical works, the dioxins and organic poisons that will last as long as the Earth; they are in these dumps in huge quantities and are far more dangerous than a small volume of nuclear waste.

Anthony J Foster, Peterlee,