New nuclear plants could prove costly in many ways

Tuesday, April 21, 2009, Bridgwater Times

Once more, members of the public are being conned into a spurious "consultation" exercise on the siting of new nuclear power stations at sites that already support nuclear power plants, including Hinkley B and Oldbury, and being given a contemptible month in which to express their views.

Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has reaffirmed the Government's view that "nuclear power is part of the low-carbon future for Britain ", although elsewhere it accepts that all nuclear output will only reduce carbon emissions by four per cent (Sustainable Development Commission 2006).

The official target for carbon emission reduction is 80 per cent by 2050.

How will it help to add lethal radioactive emissions by sea, air and land to the carbon emissions?

Coastal populations downwind of Hinkley B have already suffered higher than national average incidences of thyroid conditions, various cancers and leukaemia, especially childhood leukaemia.

Studies of populations around nuclear installations in Germany have come up with similar findings.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is allowing Magnox South to deal with the waste at Hinkley A on a "best practicable means" basis.

They are using the acid dissolution method, which will result in 20,000 cubic metres of radioactive gaseous discharges into the atmosphere, seven per cent of the total of 289,272 cubic metres envisaged, (figures supplied by Magnox South), instead of polymer encapsulation which has no gaseous emissions.

Magnox Electricity Ltd was fined £250,000 and forced to pay costs after it was found that radioactive waste had leaked into the ground from a holding tank for 14 years at Bradwell power station.

The Environment Agency has reported that 73 per cent of nuclear facilities have radioactive or chemical soil contamination on their land.

The clean-up of Sellafield's waste is already costing the taxpayer £1.5 billion per annum.

Areva, the nuclear building-partners of EDF - who have already bought up British Energy and land around Hinkley B prior to the commissioning - are facing a £3.2 billion black hole in their finances.

Spiralling costs and development delays, such as those experienced at a similar EPR construction site at Olkiluoto, Finland, where they are three years behind schedule and 50 per cent over budget, might well force EDF to withdraw from overseas commitments and confine their activities to France, where they are government subsidised, leaving the taxpayer here footing the bill, just as we had to bail out British Energy.

Moreover, in the climate change scenario, there is serious risk of flooding at Hinkley as with all the 11 shoreline sites selected for new-build, and radioactive materials will remain at Hinkley for at least 160 years.

The official consultative website, which can be found at, is little more than a presentation document by the competing organisations for the commissions, and none of the Government's criteria for assessment involves the health, safety and well-being of local inhabitants.

An alternative way to protest for the technophobic is to pick up a comment form from your local government office at Taunton, Williton, Minehead, Burnham-on-sea or Highbridge, or contact your parish or town-council.

Comments must be submitted by May 14, 2009.

Mrs J E Ounsted of Wells



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