16 February 2007

Local campaigners have responded angrily to plans to site a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. British Energy have for the first time publicly announced their intention to build a third power station in West Somerset .

The Stop Hinkley campaigners list a host of reasons on environmental, health, safety and terrorism grounds as to why the plant should never be built. Events are quickening as, while British Energy is now touting for richer partners to build the reactor, Greenpeace has won a court case against the Government on the grounds that the recent Energy Review promoting nuclear power, was flawed.

Jo Brown, spokesperson for Stop Hinkley, said: "We have not solved the problem of dealing with current nuclear waste. New build would bring an increasing financial burden in order to guarantee profits for a French corporation, EDF. There is a serious question about the economics of nuclear with its inevitable public taxation subsidy and the damaging effect of diverting public investment away from more sustainable and renewable resources and their increased opportunities for local skills improvement and employment. The safety criteria of proposed new build reactors has been compromised in such a way as to make them much more susceptible to releasing radioactive components into the environment and a weakened resistance to any likely terrorist attack."

Trying to build a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is adding insult to injury. British Energy's stated aim of "Inviting potential partners for new nuclear generation projects in the UK" means allowing foreign companies to take over UK nuclear development with all the additional risks that entails: high fixed costs for electricity, unlimited costs to the UK taxpayer for decommissioning and clean-up costs, in addition to the industry being asked to pay only 1% of insurance costs, the other 99% being another charge to UK taxpayers.

She added: "Studies from the eighties onwards have shown extra cancers in populations living near the plant. Somerset Health Authority showed leukaemia excesses in a 1989 study and Dr Chris Busby found extra breast cancer mortality in Burnham from 1985 onwards. A PCT commissioned study confirmed extra breast cancers in Burnham but oddly couldn't link them to Hinkley. There will always be a penalty from radioactive discharges into the air and water."

On the existing reactors she added: "Next month, British Energy wants the regulatory bodies to allow it to re-start the remaining two Hinkley B reactors. Both these reactors have badly damaged graphite cores surrounded by badly damaged boiler tubes. Either of these faults could cause a serious nuclear accident. Hinkley B should have been permanently closed down in 2005 when it completed its design lifecycle. Any extension beyond 2005 runs increasing risk of accident and/or uncontrollable release of carcinogenic materials into the atmosphere."

"Hinkley Point is an ideal site for the development of wind power. The Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary could produce at least as much power as the existing three nuclear sites in this area, at no cost to the health of local communities. What are we waiting for?"

Jo Brown, Deputy Co-ordinator, Stop Hinkley

01278 783497


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