Stop Hinkley Press Release

2nd October 2008

Top consultant to voice concerns over new Hinkley reactors

The UK 's leading independent nuclear engineer, John Large of Large & Associates, will speak at a public meeting in Bridgwater on Monday 13 th October.

John Large (Note 1) has written extensive reports evaluating the new Generation III reactor plant likely to be built at Hinkley, this being the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) favoured by the 85% French government owned utility EDF who plan to build two reactors alongside the existing nuclear site at Hinkley.

EDF's recent increased bid for British Energy has been accepted by the company's board and awaits the shareholders' decision. The takeover paves the way for EDF to build two giant 1600 megawatt reactors at the Hinkley site.

John Large has expounded his views on the EPR to the Guernsey government, just a few miles across the bay from Flamanville in Normandy where the EPR is currently under construction; he has evaluated and reported on the licensing arrangements for the EPR also under construction at Olkiluoto in Finland; challenged to AREVA-EDF claim that the EPR containment is 'terrorist-proof'; and he has presented an assessment of the aftermath of a moderate to severe radioactive release from an EPR sited at Sizewell in Suffolk to the Site Stakeholder Group.

John Large will present his analysis of the risk of a radioactive release from these proposed nuclear plants at Hinkley - he will do so in terms of the probability of accident or malicious action and then relate how the increased burn-up of the fuel, compared to the present AGR reactors operating at Hinkley, will place considerable challenges on the present off-site emergency planning arrangements (REPPIR) which are the responsibility of Somerset County Council, demonstrating that an expended REPPIR resource simply could not cope with even a moderate incident and radioactive release from an operating EPR.

In his fully illustrated presentation, John Large will utilise the latest satellite tracking data to show the path and timing of a radioactive release dispersing from a crippled EPR at Hinkley and, from this, he will project the numbers of public requiring evacuation, sheltering and subsequent medical care.

John Large said: "This French Generation III reactor technology is extremely ambitious: To meet the levels of acceptable risk and tolerable off-site consequences, the French designers need to overcome some very real engineering and systems challenges to satisfy their claim that the EPR will be the equivalent of the l'insubmersible Titanic - a claim that EDF has not substantiated and the validity of which I very much doubt ."

Jim Duffy from Stop Hinkley said: "It's a crucial time for the local area. There is firm evidence that the majority of those who agree to having the new giant reactors do so reluctantly (Note 2). The public should come and hear this highly qualified nuclear consultant who has deep qualms about plans that will affect us all for generations to come."

The public meeting will be held on Monday 13th October at 7.30pm at the British Legion Club, Castle Street, Bridgwater. All are welcome.

Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator

Click here for a Summary of John Large's presentation.

Consultation meetings

Our public meeting is timed to occur just before a series of six local meetings organised by British Energy on the siting of new reactors at Hinkley. The Government (DBERR) has stipulated that nuclear operators must consult with the local public as part of their national consultation on the factors for deciding on new nuclear sites. See Events Page for info.

They have listed some criteria as either 'exclusionary' or 'discretionary' to assess whether any particular site should go forward to the next stage and be considered for local consideration by the Infrastructure planning Commission. The IPC replaces the previous Public Inquiry such as the Hinkley C inquiry in 1988-89.

DBERR hopes to announce the new criterion at the end of the year, inviting potential operators or builders to nominate specific sites next year. The decided sites are expected to be formally announced in 2010.

The proposed criteria are as follows:

Exclusionary: (ruling out a site for new build)

  • Seismic
  • Capable of geological faulting
  • Demographics


  • Flooding
  • Tsunami, storm surge coastal processes
  • Proximity to hazardous industrial facilities
  • Proximity to civil aircraft movements
  • Sites of ecological importance
  • Areas of amenity, cultural heritage, landscape value
  • Size of site to accommodate construction, operation and decommissioning
  • Access to suitable sources of cooling

Both : Proximity to military activities

The meeting organisers, Stop Hinkley and Sedgemoor and West Somerset Green Party, will be urging the public to write to DBERR with their views. The consultation papers can be downloaded at: Closing date for responses is November 11th.


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(1) John Large is the Chief Executive of Large & Associates, a company of consulting engineers based in London that specialises in the nuclear field. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Graduate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Member of the British Nuclear Energy Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was a full time member of the academic research staff of Brunel University where he undertook full time research for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) on reactor and other nuclear systems throughout the 1970s and 80s; he has provided evidence to the UK parliament and to a number of overseas states on nuclear technology; he has reported on a number of nuclear plant accidents and incidents; acted for an international nuclear control agency; and he selected and headed the specialised nuclear team that assessed the nuclear reactor and weapons risks throughout the word-first successful salvage of the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk throughout 2001.

(2) MORE than half of people living close to nuclear plants, such as Hinkley in Somerset , still have concerns over threats to security and health, a report has revealed. Researchers from Cardiff University and the University of East Anglia said almost two-fifths (38 per cent) of local residents accepted their nearby power station "reluctantly", but 16 per cent were opposed outright to it. One of the main criticisms from locals has been the lack of consultation over potential nuclear power plant schemes. The researchers found 54 per cent of those questioned worried about the risks of living within 10 miles of a power station. The results are a warning to the Government against assuming strong local support for new-build power stations on existing sites - thought to be the only places where it is likely the plants will be able to be given the go-ahead. More than half of those questioned - 61 per cent - near Hinkley Point, Somerset , and half of those questioned near Oldbury, Gloucestershire, were in favour of new-builds on their local site. But the survey of 1,326 residents found almost a quarter at Hinkley Point and almost a third near Oldbury opposed a new power station. Click here for more info.

Page Updated 03-Oct-2008