N-plant campaigners ready for battle

A GROUP set up to oppose a new nuclear power plant on the Essex coast has hit out at Government plans, describing them as "superficial, vague, loosely-worded and tentative."

Roddy Ashworth

A GROUP set up to oppose a new nuclear power plant on the Essex coast has hit out at Government plans, describing them as “superficial, vague, loosely-worded and tentative.”

Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of Bradwell Against New Nuclear Generation (BANNG), made his comments just days after Energy and Climate Change secretary Ed Miliband revealed proposals for 10 new nuclear power stations in the UK.

In the Minister's announcement, sites at both Bradwell in Essex and Sizewell in Suffolk - which have been used for nuclear generation in the past - were officially earmarked as potential locations for new power stations.

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But Prof Blowers rejected the proposals, claiming: “The Government's statement, especially with reference to Bradwell, is superficial, vague, loosely-worded and tentative.

“This is especially so in regard to it justifying the Bradwell site. There are many aspects of the statement which are open to challenge and I feel confident that it will prove very difficult for Bradwell to achieve either a planning permission or regulatory approval.”

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Among the issues highlighted by BANNG as challengeable are:

n The lack of a plan setting out how the authorities will cope in the event of a major emergency.

n The Government's view that a nuclear power station would “pose very small risks to safety, security, health and proliferation”.

n The claim that “a nuclear power station could potentially be protected against flood risks through its lifetime, including the potential effects of climate change, storm surge and tsunami” given that high level wastes will remain on sites from upwards of 160 years.

n The argument that the impact of the station on landscape and environment can be successfully mitigated.

n The claim that radioactive wastes, including spent fuel and intermediate-level waste, can be safely and securely stored on the site.

Prof Blowers also said that BANNG was very concerned about substantial amounts of cooling water from the new plant on the marine environment in the estuary, including the local fishing and oyster industries.

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The impact on the local community, the environment, safety and flooding risk were all taken into account when identifying these potential sites.

"Following the nomination of the sites, DECC will be conducting a 15 week consultation which will run until February 22 with the opportunity for the public to influence and comment on the draft NPSs at a national and local level.

"Parliamentary scrutiny will follow the conclusion of this consultation."

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