Public 'must have say' on Sizewell C

DENYING the local public a chance to discuss the economic and safety issues of a Sizewell C nuclear power station would be “repugnant”, according to a campaign group.

By David Green

DENYING the local public a chance to discuss the economic and safety issues of a Sizewell C nuclear power station would be “repugnant”, according to a campaign group.

An application to build Sizewell C is expected to be the first of a series throughout Britain if, as expected, the Government gives the go-ahead for a new nuclear power programme as part of the fight to reduce global warming emissions.

The Sizewell B inquiry was the longest and most expensive in UK history, lasting 27 months and costing more than £20 million.


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The Government has already signalled its intention to avoid a repeat with further inquiries, suggesting they will deal with only local issues, leaving economics and safety to be studied on a national basis.

In its submission to a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) consultation exercise on the policy framework for new nuclear power stations, the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign calls for local inquiries to be broad in remit.

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Chairman Charles Barnett said: “Only the rigorous analysis in public of full public inquiries can ever adequately minimise the dangers from nuclear power, as was clearly shown by the Sizewell B inquiry, of which we had personal and close experience.

“Only such full joint inquiries can retain public confidence in government and its development of major industries in a way compatible with democracy.”

Mr Barnett states in his submission to the DTI that the Sizewell B inquiry was protracted by “false starts” by the nuclear industry over economics and choice of design, not by unnecessary attention to public concerns.

The length of the inquiry had also been the result of the UK nuclear safety watchdog insistence on modifications to the design.

“Neither financial considerations nor safety can ever be considered in camera or in advance, as the DTI proposes, for now more than ever they rely upon public confidence, local geography and local context.

“Constitutionally and ethically, to attempt to isolate such inquiries from broad public concern would be repugnant, when there is already such public disquiet over the bona fides of this year's Energy Review,” Mr Barnett said.

The Shut Down Sizewell Campaign claims there is no case for building new nuclear power stations and such development would increase terrorist dangers.

A DTI spokesman said all responses to its consultation paper would be considered.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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