Stop Hinkley Press Release
27th January 2009
New Govt guidelines ease the way for nuclear
The Government today issued its criteria for new nuclear sites as EdF announced its intention to nominate Hinkley Point for two giant reactors.
The Government response to its recent Strategic Site Assessment consultation showed all the signs of bowing to the industry while squeezing out critical views in a move which will ease nuclear new build in the West Country.
Land access: The document gives the impression that coastal and countryside paths may be ruled out of bounds in a bid to step up security around nuclear plants affecting ramblers and local dog-walkers and all those who enjoy the coastal countryside: "Nuclear operators will be required to make adequate land available so that effective control over activities and access may be exercised on and around nuclear power stations." Section 4.60.
Public Acceptability: The Government takes the view that, having made the nuclear decision in principle in 2006, that local consultation should be minimised. There's no recommendation for active public consultation through more public meetings. Instead individuals are permitted to write in to the Government during a one month window after site nominations are agreed. After that a Government quango, the Infrastructure Planning Commission will coordinate the local planning process: Section 4.58.
As we understand it there will be no cross examination of industry or Government expert witnesses. Paper submissions will be encouraged over personal appearances at the hearings.
Public Health: No additional criterion will be added to enhance public health. The Government takes the stance that existing processes are acceptable for protecting local communities from radioactive discharges. Some had argued that existing sites will create an accumulation of radiation locally: Section 4.55.
There was no response in the document to Stop Hinkley's charge that estuaries and some coastal sites are unsuitable for nuclear plants as discharges are not dispersed and accumulate on local community shorelines.
Nuclear waste: The government is satisfied with the prospect of spent nuclear fuel remaining on-site at Hinkley and Oldbury for a projected 60 years, termed 'intermediate storage'. There was no direct answer to the charge made that no effective nuclear waste repository exists anywhere in the world: Section 8.2.
Jim Duffy, spokesman for Stop Hinkley said: "The Government is easing the way forward for the nuclear industry while dismissing major public concern on this expensive polluting project. Hints that it will cut access to local footpaths and beaches will alarm many while it discourages public events where people can raise their voices. The ongoing problem of nuclear waste has been skimmed over. But nuclear builders EdF are delighted and announced their intention to nominate Hinkley as a site before the ink was dry on this awful document."
Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator, 27th Jan 2009