Sizwell terror risk 'small'

THE risk of a terrorist strike on the Sizewell nuclear site is “small”, British Energy's chief executive officer claimed at a public meeting last night.

David Green

THE risk of a terrorist strike on the Sizewell nuclear site is “small”, British Energy's chief executive officer claimed at a public meeting last night.

“There are much easier and softer targets,” Bill Coley told more than 100 people who attended the meeting, in Saxmundham's Market Hall.

“I am very comfortable with the way safety and security are undertaken in this country,” he said.

Mr Coley, a United States citizen, was a guest of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group - set up to improve liaison between the nuclear site, Government watchdogs and the local community - and his address was entitled “Sizewell C: a place in a new nuclear build?”

Several members of the audience expressed concern about the risk of terrorists attacking Sizewell B, British Energy's American-style pressurised water reactor.

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However, Mr Coley said the risk was small and not as important as the “moral” obligation to provide the next generations with an adequate supply of electricity.

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, suggested there was a greater moral obligation not to leave future generations with the problem of storing highly radioactive waste.

But Mr Coley said technical solutions did exist. It was for the UK Government to decide which route to take.

He said nuclear power was not the only answer to the climate change challenge but it had to be part of the solution, along with renewable energies and conservation and efficiency measures.

“We can't achieve climate change objectives in the UK without nuclear,” he claimed.

Mr Coley told members of the public that no decisions had yet been taken by his company about the favoured site for construction of the first of the proposed new nuclear plants.

Sizewell, Bradwell, Dungeness (Kent) and Hinkley Point (Somerset) were on the shortlist and environmental studies were currently taking place at all four sites.

Studies had shown that none of the sites would be threatened by climate-induced sea level over the next 100 years at least.

Construction of the first new plant was expected about 2013 with completion in 2017/18, said Mr Coley who pledged to take into account the concerns of the local community if Sizewell C was given a go-ahead.

Earlier a small group of anti-nuclear protestors had lobbied people arriving at the meeting. One placards claimed nuclear power was “not safe, not needed and not wanted” and another declared “And the meek shall inherit the nuclear waste”.