Stop Hinkley PRESS RELEASE
Axe Hinkley C call after Cumbria decision
31 January 2013
Southwest campaigners are calling for the planned nuclear development at Hinkley Point to be axed, following Cumbria County councils decision not to accept a future underground waste dump in the Lake District . Anti-nuclear activists say that without a long term destination for it's radioactive waste, EDF's Hinkley C project can only mean a permanent nuclear dump staying in West Somerset - for many thousands of years.
The proposed "Geological Disposal Facility" (GDF) was intended to safely store all the UK's radioactive waste - including Somerset's - deep underground for the next 10 thousand years. Yesterday (30/1/13) Cumbrian councillors decided by a vote of 7 to 3 to reject the government's search for a suitable site in their county.
Cumbria had already been considered - and rejected - for a similar project in the 1980s, but experts then pronounced the Lakelands too geologically unstable for storing the immensely hazardous radioactive waste, which is the end-product of nuclear power. So far no other counties have volunteered to host the permanent deep waste store, despite offers of cash incentives from the government.
"In order to claim that the future waste from new nuclear plants can be disposed of safely, the government and the nuclear lobby needed the Stage 4 exploratory work to go ahead in Cumbria," said Theo Simon, a spokesperson for the local Stop Hinkley campaign. "In fact, David Cameron said in 2007 that investment in new nuclear would not be possible unless the nuclear waste issue had been dealt with.
"EDF's planning application for Hinkley C has rested on geological storage for its toxic spent fuel rods being available later this century, but Cumbria was the only county in Britain that would even consider hosting such a facility. Now the fig-leaf of the Cumbrian promise has dropped away. The emperor has no clothes - and the EDF has no GDF."
Campaigners believe that the collapse of the plan will open the way to legal challenges if EDF gets the go-ahead for Hinkley C from the government in March this year.
"Even fish-and-chip shops in Somerset have to have a credible plan for dealing with their waste," said Mr Simon. "You can't build something as hazardous as a nuclear power station just on wishful thinking."
And he rejected statements from EDF that they will continue on the assumption that a GDF will eventually exist. "Just because EDF executives will be long dead when Hinkley C becomes no more than a radioactive tip doesn't mean that they are absolved from all personal responsibility," he said.