Public consultation over nuclear waste

THE public are being invited to comment on the way Sizewell B stores its spent radioactive fuel.

Kate McGrath

THE public are being invited to comment on the way Sizewell B stores its spent radioactive fuel.

For the last 14 years the nuclear power station has stored its spent waste in containers in a pond filled with water, but by 2015 this will have reached its full capacity.

It is therefore looking at four alternatives, which are open to public consultation.

These include a second wet store like the one used at the moment, a dry store underground, a dry cask store which would be above ground or reprocessing when the fuel is processed to be used again.

However, the plans by British Energy have been criticised by campaigners from Shut Down Sizewell.

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Chairman Charles Barnett claims spent fuel takes 250,000 years to become safe and would need to be guarded by the next 10,000 generations.

“We have looked at these options and we feel that the only way forward is to close Sizewell down.

“We already have 14 years of highly radioactive spent fuel stored at Sizewell in a condition which is open to terrorist activity.

We do not think the Government should allow Sizewell B to compound the problem.”

He added: “We think British Energy should look at more renewable energies like the Greater Gabbard windfarm which we can see from Sizewell.”

As well as two public exhibitions, British Energy is holding meetings with Sizewell residents, the Leiston Town Council and the Sizewell Site Stakeholder Group.

Brian Dowds, station director, said: “There are well-established, proven methods and technologies already in use across the world for managing used fuel. Thus the experience of 264 pressurised water reactors worldwide, similar to Sizewell B, provides a robust, proven record of safe, secure methods upon which to evaluate options.

“As we go forward with our evaluation, we want to keep our neighbours in Sizewell and Leiston informed.”

The public exhibitions will be held at the United Church Hall, High Street, Leiston, on Wednesday May 6 from 1pm to 7.30pm and Saturday May 9 from 9.30am until 2pm.