Stop Hinkley Press Release
20 October 2013
Undemocratic state to control British nukes
Stop Hinkley Campaigners today labelled George Osborne's coalition deal with China as 'reckless'. China is experiencing significant home-grown opposition to it's nuclear plans with officials cancelling a significant nuclear project amidst protests back in July.
Said spokesperson Nikki Clark “The coalition government having dug themselves into a hole - desperate as they are to implement their half-baked energy strategy, it seems don't know when to stop digging - they'll go to any lengths to create more nuclear power stations. They claim we need nuclear for climate change but as well as the long predicted construction delays translating into carbon target delays, the nuclear establishments green credentials are highly contested. The coalition government also claim that we need nuclear power to keep the lights on but this latest move is akin to giving away the light switch! Since when is Russia having control of our gas taps more problematic that the largest most powerful authoritarian state in the world having control of our most dangerous technology – nuclear?”
China is a nuclear weapons state, and has NO basic nuclear safety laws and very limited regulations, despite generally accepted global standards of 20 to 40 people (regulators) per station, China's regulatory body has less than a 1,000 staff to regulate it's 17 operational reactors and 30 planned reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association the nuclear power workforce in China is “another factor affecting nuclear safety in China”.
In 2011 Prof He Zuoxiu, a Chinese atomic bomb scientist called Chinese plans for a 20-fold increase in nuclear power by 2030 as potentially 'disastrous' saying China is 'seriously under-prepared on the safety front' whilst in the same year Wikileaks revealed that there were serious concerns held by the global nuclear establishment over China's weaknesses in management and regulatory oversight.
Ms Clark said “It's not just investment that the Chinese are looking to make by getting involved in nuclear technology in the UK – they want a say in the day to day operations of any future Hinkley or Sizewell C. The government can't have it all ways – on the one hand they claim we need to renew Trident the Nuclear so-called deterrent, and on the other, they now want to give control of our most dangerous technology to precisely the kind of regime that many of the British public would feel the need to be protected from - an unaccountable, undemocratic, authoritarian regime. This raises serious security issues and can't possibly be in the public interest.”
Successive governments have been influenced by the power of the nuclear establishment and it's never-to-be-realised promises. Nuclear power is being revealed to be the same way it always has - dirty dangerous and expensive and now the government want to give the Chinese control over it. We feel that bringing an authoritarian regime such as China is a step to far, the prospect of their being brought in with no approval from the public, when all along the country has been promised that government energy policy is going to give us energy security is a recipe for disaster. Said Nikki “We think the coalition are going to have a fight on their hands.”
Nikki Clark, Stop Hinkley spokesperson
Notes to editor
First the Labour government and now the coalition government have claimed that we need nuclear to keep the lights on:
See here for why we don't:
Nuclear green credentials contested:
BBC Points West China expert, Dr Winnie King of Bristol University (09:10 mins in)
Chinese atomic bomb scientist concerns:
Wikileaks reveal nuclear establishment concerns about Chinese nuclear safety: