11 Feb 2010

Nuke consultations are flawed and unlawful

The silent protest in Thornbury this weekend of more than 200 people, many wearing gaffer tape across their mouths, shows the anger and frustration with this whole nuclear consultation process. See video of protest here.

Pic: Russ cartoon designed for this website - still one of my favorites!

A Green who attended told me it was great to see so many protesters at the event. Well you may have seen I've posted some thoughts regarding our Green party submission to the Nuclear National Policy statement - see here. Below is our press release which went out this week...

Stroud District Green party has condemned government proposals for two or three new nuclear reactors at Oldbury, 16 miles from Stroud. The consultations on new nuclear power stations close on 22nd February 2010 and the Greens urge the public to make their feelings known.

Cllr Philip Booth, who helped write the Green party's submissions to the consultation, said: "The Government's draft National Planning Statements on energy are deeply flawed. It is not a meaningful consultation: the report has more pages than War and Peace, is incoherent in places, alternatives have not been adequately explored and the carbon impact is not even assessed. In fact, many consider the consultation to be unlawful and even our pro-nuclear MP David Drew has expressed concern."

Philip Booth added: "There are pre-application consultations, exhibitions, preliminary public meetings and full public hearings. We can give our views to the nuclear power company, to local councils, to the Environment Agency, to the Government and to the Infrastructure Planning Commission. How on earth can folk really engage meaningfully with all this? Nevertheless I would urge people to make submissions before 22nd February as the Government need to hear that their nuclear proposals are a serious mistake."

Martin Whiteside, Parliamentary candidate for the Green party in Stroud, said: "The arguments against nuclear are clear. There are no long-term safe solutions for nuclear waste. The economics of nuclear new-build are highly uncertain with serious risks to the taxpayer. Nuclear would lock the UK into a centralised distribution system for the next 50 years at exactly the time when opportunities for microgeneration and local distribution networks are stronger than ever. New nuclear build will do nothing to bridge the predicted energy gap between 2015 and 2020 and give the wrong signal that a major technological fix is all that’s required, weakening the urgent action needed on energy efficiency. Indeed ifLabourand the nuclear industry succeed in promoting the construction of new nuclear power stations, our last chance to find real solutions to climate change will be lost. Furthermore if the UK brings forward a new nuclear programme, we cannot deny other countries the same technology. With lower safety standards they run higher risks of accidents, radiation exposure, proliferation
and terrorist attacks.”

Martin Whiteside added: “What is needed is a combination of demand management using smart meters and local grid enhancements to more effectively use the power generated from PV, tidal, estuary schemes, onshore and offshore wind, biomass and combined heat and power (CHP). Renewable energy projects can be brought online much more quickly than nuclear and, in addition to a major programme to make homes more energy efficient, will generate thousands of skilled and semi-skilled jobs in the UK.”

Philip Booth comments: “Peter McDonald, deputy head of the Office of Nuclear Development, has said that some of the proposed sites can be removed...Greens say let us make sure they all get deselected."
Nuclear is clearly not the answer and the Stroud District Green Party urges the public to comment on the government’s consultation at: https://www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk/ by 22nd February.


Greg Dance said...

I spent some time this morning looking at this DECC website. Yes its a consultation but also its a typically massive time consuming exercise if the visitor is to answer all the questions meaningfully. Really I, like many I guess, gave up because the task is made too large and the questions are unnecessarily too exacting in nature. My cynical view of this is that the size of the task to participate is deliberately made excessively large to deter ordinary people from bothering. So the corporations who have the time and staff to focus on every aspect in detail get their way and the process is defended by its creators as "democratic". True democracy might have a chance in the UK if the populace are kept up to date on the essential facts on massive infrastructural projects via popular media as the government proved it could do for swine flu. the energy future we all have to live in is too important a topic to be buried in a bloated process such as this.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the last comment - I started to try and complete the consultation and gave up!

Anonymous said...

During the meeting the representatives from DECC confirmed that the proposed site is within a flood group 3 zone which means that the area including Littleton on Severn, Rockhampton, Ham, Berkeley, Shepperdine, and Oldbury are all in an area that is, according to the Environment Agency , “deemed to be at high risk of flooding by fluvial or coastal and tidal flooding”.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 14th Feb 2010

Anonymous said...

The International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) has condemned Fast Breeder Reactors. ‘After six decades and the expenditure of the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars,’ it says, ‘the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled and efforts to commercialize them have been steadily cut back in most countries.’ In a damning judgement, the IPFM report says that the reactors are ‘plagued by high costs, often multi-year downtime for repairs (including a 15-year reactor restart delay in Japan), multiple safety problems (among them often catastrophic sodium fires triggered simply by contact with oxygen), and unresolved proliferation risks’.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 19th Feb 2010


New models for nuclear reactors have been attracting a lot of interest recently, with all sorts of ideas touted as the solution to the problems of the standard designs in use today. The huge cost, and delays and budget over-runs in construction, of third generation reactors such as Areva’s EPR, along with concerns about their safety, has inspired a search for new smaller designs, including some that are only the size of a garden shed. There is also renewed excitement over fourth-generation reactor technology that can use spent uranium fuel as its feed-stock. One version of fourth generation technology that is decades old, but is earning a new lease of life as a potential solution to the problem of dealing with nuclear fuel waste is the fast reactor. The IPFM, however, is sceptical. The report argues that the use of these reactors as a global solution to the problem of nuclear waste, suggested as part of the Bush administration&r! squo;s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in 2006, had already been shown to be ineffective.

FT 18th Feb 2010