Press release 09 March 2010

Jonathon Porritt to speak out against Hinkley C

The famous environmentalist Jonathon Porritt will speak out against building new reactors at Hinkley Point in a public meeting in Taunton 's Temple Methodist Church next Tuesday, 16th March.

Jonathon Porritt has a long and respected track record on environmental issues, heading groups such as Friends of the Earth, The Sustainable Development Commission and Forum for the Future.

In his role as Chairman of the Government advisory group, the Sustainable Development Commission, he came down heavily against nuclear power as a means to mitigate Climate Change or to bridge the forecast energy gap.

In a recent statement to Stop Hinkley he said: "Today's new-found enthusiasm for nuclear power is entirely inappropriate. By far the best way of addressing both our climate change and energy security objectives is to focus single-mindedly on energy efficiency and renewables. The politicians keep on saying that's what they want to do, but they just don't. We don't need nuclear power, and we certainly don't need the nuclear waste it leaves behind."  

In 2008 the Sustainable Development Commission, under Jonathon's leadership, published a scathing report on new nuclear power in response to the Government's Energy Review. The report, "Nuclear power in a low carbon economy" (1) identifies five major disadvantages to nuclear power:

1. Long-term waste - no long term solutions are yet available, let alone acceptable to the general public; it is impossible to guarantee safety over the long-term disposal of waste.
2. Cost - the economics of nuclear new-build are highly uncertain. There is little, if any, justification for public subsidy, but if estimated costs escalate, there's a clear risk that the taxpayer will be have to pick up the tab.
3. Inflexibility - 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 network are stronger than ever.
4. Undermining energy efficiency - a new nuclear programme would give out the wrong signal to consumers and businesses, implying that a major technological fix is all that's required, weakening the urgent action needed on energy efficiency.
5. International security - if the UK brings forward a new nuclear power 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

It went on to say that even if all existing nuclear generation was replaced with new nuclear, it would reduce the UK 's carbon emissions by a mere four percent.

Jonathon has joined many leading academics and politicians in signing a petition calling for a public inquiry into the Justification for new nuclear build. This will be debated at the Palace of Westminster on 11th March.

DVD of Jonathon Porritt's talk in Taunton

Watch Jonathon Porritt's eloquent case against nuclear power from the comfort of your armchair! You can purchase a DVD film of the inspiring 90 minute talk given by Jonathon for just £5.

Order by email,
click here

Or go to website:

Serious design flaw could lead to Chernobyl accident

The Taunton meeting is due to occur as the Guardian reports that the reactor type slated for Hinkley C has a serious design flaw which could produce a Chernobyl type explosion. The European Pressurised Reactor proposed by EdF for Hinkley has a mechanism which allows it to respond quickly to electricity demand from the grid. But this mechanism has been showed in internal papers to be flawed, allowing control rods to be ejected from their slots, breaching the reactor chamber and causing a loss of coolant accident which could escalate. (2)

Jim Duffy, spokesman for Stop Hinkley, said: "We are discovering one glitch after another concerning these reactors. This seems to be the most serious so far and requires answers from EdF as to why the flaws were not revealed by them but by concerned employees. Taken together with Jonathon Porritt's sound arguments against nuclear power there are firm grounds for stopping the nuclear juggernaut before we are too committed to this dangerous technology."

Jim Duffy, 07798 666756


Jonathan Porritt explains why nuclear plans are totally wrong.

A new nuclear power station at Hinkley point is not needed and would leave an unacceptable legacy to future generations. Jonathon Porritt voiced his views to a packed meeting of local anti-nuclear campaigners who are opposing the Somerset scheme.

If the video is blocked by your computer, click here to see part of Jonathon Porritt's talk on YouTube


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Details of the accident scenario according to today's "Sortir du Nucleaire" press release:

"According to calculations by EDF and Areva, the reactor's RIP (Instant Return to Power) control mode and the control rod cluster configuration can induce a rod ejection accident during low-power operation, and lead to the rupture of the control rod drive casing. This rupture would cause the coolant to leak outside the nuclear reactor vessel. Such a loss of coolant accident (LOCA - a very serious type of nuclear accident) would damage a large number of fuel rods by heating fuel pellets and claddings, and thus cause the release of highly radioactive steam into the containment. So there is a great risk of a criticality accident resulting in an explosion, the reactor power being increased in an extremely brutal way. Following the ejection of control rod clusters during low-power operation, the reactor emergency shutdown may fail. Whatever the configuration of the control rod clusters, a rod ejection accident induces a high rate of broken fuel rods and therefore a high risk of a criticality accident."

For more details, see the documents disclosed by an anonymous EDF source (especially document No. 1) on their website:

JONATHON PORRITT - biographical details

Jonathon Porritt is Founder Director of Forum for the Future

Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development. Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is now the UK 's leading sustainable development charity, with 70 staff and over 100 partner organisations, including some of the world's leading companies.

In addition, he is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales's Business and Environment Programme which runs Seminars for senior executives around the world. He is a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water, and of Willmott Dixon Holdings. He is a Trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as Patron, Chair or Special Adviser.

He was formerly Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90); co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member; chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001); a Trustee of WWF UK (1991-2005), a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency (1999-2008).

He stood down as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2009 after nine years providing high-level advice to Government Ministers.

His latest books are  Capitalism As If The World Matters (Earthscan ,  revised 2007),  Globalism & Regionalism (Black Dog 2008) and Living Within Our Means ( Forum for the Future 2009).

Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection.

Contact details:

Tel 01242 266 777 / 262 737
Fax 01242 262 757


Page Updated 17-May-2010