Chew Valley Gazette, Letters Page, 26th May 2006

Dear Sir,

Tony Blair's move last week to bring on a new generation of nuclear power stations is a dreadful mistake for the environment and the worst con imaginable.

Nuclear waste is an unresolvable problem, acknowledged by the chair of a Government committee shortly before they proposed a staggered response of initial storage followed by burial in a deep bunker in some supposed welcoming community. Gordon McKerron had said there is no solution to nuclear waste, only different forms of management. He knows that no country has 'capped off' on its disposal method due to uncertainties regarding leaks during the astronomic timeframe involved: at least 250,000 years.

Climate change targets cannot hope to be helped by nuclear power, which can only deliver at most an eight percent reduction in greenhouse gases which the UK has targets to reduce by 60 percent by 2050. The minimal reduction would not take effect during the likely 15 years to licence, plan and build the first reactor. Meanwhile the colossal project would hoover up much needed investment in renewable energy and, importantly, a possible 50 percent reduction in energy demand. All major environmental groups agree that a mix of renewables and energy conservation can reduce carbon emissions more quickly and more cheaply than nuclear power.

The nuclear industry is pushing proposals to reduce the licensing and planning enquiry timetables. The four-year licensing process, during which a particular reactor design is examined for safety and environmental considerations, may be curtailed and held behind closed doors. Independent experts will have no sight of information crucial to public safety. This is of concern in post 9/11 times as news emerges that a French reactor design would not withstand a heavy aircraft crashing into it. EDF has offered to build ten of these reactors in the UK.

Likewise the public enquiry may, under the proposals, rule out all considerations which are not purely local planning matters. In this dark age for democracy we may only debate the colour of the front door of these humming monsters pouring out radiation and with the potential to devastate our country. Please join our group to help fight this scary plan.

Yours, Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley


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