12 March 2010
Stop Hinkley supports call for nuclear inquiry
Stop Hinkley campaigners are supporting calls from the Liberal Democrats (2) and the Nuclear Consultation Group of academics (1) for a public inquiry into the Justification of new nuclear power.
Yesterday a meeting was convened at the Houses of Parliament by Michael Meacher MP, former Energy Minister and Simon Hughes MP, Lib-Dem Shadow Energy spokesman on the demand for an open, thorough and transparent public inquiry into the Justification of nuclear build. They explained that under European Law, new practices involving radiation must be justified in terms of the health detriment which they might cause.
Michael Meacher gave several examples of where the UK had been failing in its approach to regulation eg in the banking industry and was concerned that the Government was rushing through the process of building new reactors without a thorough and open examination of the issues. He said a public inquiry was the only way forward. Simon Hughes said the decision over regulatory justification was due to be made before the reactor designs had even been approved and said Ed Milliband who was set to make the decision was not impartial as he had already made his views known in favour of nuclear.
Dr John Large stated from the platform that the recent DECC consultation on Nuclear Justification did not provide sufficient information on the safety of new rector designs or the effects of a serious accident to be able to form an informed judgement. Dr Steven Thomas from Greenwich University went on to lay doubt on the economics of nuclear power, showing that one way or another the UK would have to lend financial support to the industry as it had already dome with an estimated cost of £80 billion for decommissioning the first generation of reactors. The DECC figures for constructing a new power station in the consultation document were out of date and unbelievably low.
Jim Duffy spokesman for Stop Hinkley said: "the speakers were lining up to say the process was inadequate and the justification for new nuclear had not been thoroughly and clearly made. On the ground we see local impacts in terms of health effects from the existing but much smaller scale reactors. What will it be like when we have two monster size reactors? There is still no agreed solution to nuclear waste so that uncertainty should be resolved before new waste is produced. We get regular surprises about the safety of the new reactor designs. The whole thing needs looking at more openly and thoroughly. We support the calls for a public inquiry."
Jonathon Porritt, the celebrated environmentalist, is one of more than ninety academics and politicians who have signed the Nuclear Consultation Group call for a public inquiry into the Justification of new nuclear. He will be speaking at Temple Methodist Church on Tuesday 16th March in a public meeting titled: "Do we need nuclear power?"
(3) Today's Financial Times: Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for energy and climate change, yesterday called for an independent public inquiry into government plans to back a new generation of nuclear power plants being built in Britain . Mr Hughes did not comment directly on the stance the Lib Dems might take on new nuclear investment in the event of a hung parliament, but said it was a key issue for the party after the election. "It would be completely unacceptable for the government to rush through new nuclear in its last days in office without a public inquiry," Mr Hughes said. He backed a call from a group of academics, environmentalists and other Lib Dem MPs calling for a formal "justification" of new nuclear construction. Justification is a formal process in European law, required to show that the risks of nuclear development are outweighed by the expected benefits. More >>>
(4) Yesterday's Guardian: Pressure on the government to organise an independent inquiry into a new generation of nuclear power stations will intensify today with a call for action from a group of 90 high-ranking academics, politicians and technical experts. The huge lobby says the "climategate" email scandal and other events have shaken public trust in the scientific governance of environmental risk, making a wider assessment of nuclear power more important than ever. Paul Dorfman, an energy policy research fellow at Warwick University who has been coordinating support for an inquiry, said more debate was needed for a decision on nuclear to have full democratic backing. "The kind of consultation we have had so far has been flawed and inadequate. The government has put the cart before the horse by wanting endorsement before either the design of the reactor and the way waste will be treated has been decided. There is a democratic deficit here th! at needs correcting," he said. More >>>