No to N-dump ‘would put nuclear new-build at risk’ says professor
Last updated at 11:26, Thursday, 20 September 2012
FORMER government science adviser Sir David King has warned that Britain’s nuclear power programme would be put at serious risk if a search does not go ahead in West Cumbria for somewhere to bury radioactive waste from the new reactor fleet.
One is planned close to Sellafield promising thousands of jobs and a predicted £9billion investment for the area.
Sir David, the Labour government’s chief scientific advisor for eight years, was a leading light in advocating “the renaissance of nuclear power in Britain pressing the case with Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Yesterday he told The Whitehaven News that when the councils meet on October 11 to decide whether to go ahead for a site search a ‘no’ decision will have serious implications for the UK’s nuclear new build programme.
Sir David insists: “It is logical, sensible and necessary for a search of West Cumbria’s geology to proceed. To abort the process now before we have all the facts to hand would be short-sighted. I implore all concerned parties not to second guess the science but to explore all the facts so we can make a clear decision based on the very best evidence - that’s all I ask. The search must go ahead.”
He went on: “If our ambitions as a country to reduce carbon emissions and to improve the security of our energy supplies are serious then nuclear power must, unquestionably, form part of a balanced energy policy.
“As a practising scientist my decisions are evidence- based – not on politics or popularity but on scientific evidence”. He said it presented a compelling case to provide affordable energy and security of supply.
“As I advised the government on the development of its new nuclear policy, it was clear that progress on the solution of the waste problem was already long overdue.
“Successive governments have tried and failed to solve the long-term policy issues surrounding the management of radioactive wastes. What we saw in those years was not a failure of science but of policies and processes where it was easier to make no decision than a decision.
“I am sure the process of ‘voluntarism’ is the right way forward but this has never meant that an area could volunteer for the creation of a repository in a geological area that is simply unsuitable.
“Nobody in Copeland, Cumbria or Westminster - or across the scientific community – would support this. It’s essential that all of the facts are known before decisions are made. Implementation of a final policy solution for radioactive wastes in Britain is now long overdue and is needed for a coherent, credible national energy policy and in my view if we don’t manage the legacy issue with the best science this in itself could hinder nuclear new build. This is something we can’t afford to happen.”
But Radiation Free Lakeland spokeswoman Marianne Birkby claimed: “This is a last attempt at moral blackmail by a government desperate to continue nuclear power at any cost. Is Sir David saying that West Cumbria should say ‘yes’ to geological dumping of nuclear waste even though we know it is not safe?”
The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, which employs 460 at Sellafield and Workington, supports a site search. Managing director Professor Paul Howarth told The Whitehaven News: “Any decision is vitally important for the future of the region.
“To stay engaged in a repository siting process will allow more information to be generated so that a more informed decision can be taken at the right time.
“The option to say ‘no’ to a repository remains open while data gathering takes place.” Three of the country’s leading unions have put their weight behind the Sellafield Worker’s Campaign for a ‘yes vote.
Unite’s national energy officer Kevin Coyne warned: “The consequences of failure in this process now could be catastrophic for jobs, growth and investment in the nuclear industry and in Cumbria as a whole.”
Prospect national officer Mike Graham stressed: “The opportunities facing the area and the industry are enormous. Consequences of delay are seriously harmful, failure will be disastrous.”
And GMB national secretary Keith Hazlewood urged - “better for the workforce, better for the economy, better for the workforce - the case for a geological investigation in West Cumbria is overwhelming and supports the ambitions of ordinary working people across Cumbria.”
First published at 11:07, Thursday, 20 September 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
It is insane to even consider putting the nuclear dump in Cumbria. I've spoken to experts in the field and had it confirmed that the geology is completely unsuitable and that, when coupled with the fact that this area is still geologically active (hence occasional earthquakes) and you have a no-brainer to start with. One has then only to look at the health problems (the TRUE ones and not those put out to try to allay public concern) in Cumbria, South West Scotland and the east coast of Ireland to know that increasing the radiation hazards in the region is not going to help. Once such a decision is made (probably already a foregone conclusion anyway) then Cumbria will turn into an area that no one but no one will want to live in let alone invest in or visit.
The only sane thing to do is put the dump in a remote part of Scotland with a suitable geology, of which there are plenty of sites - even one of the un-inhabited islands.
As you can gather, I'm totally opposed to the whole idea and as for stating that the majority are either in favour or not opposed to it - total lies - SHOW me the ballot papers of ALL the people of Cumbria and we'll see who's right.
Good luck, but I think we are all facing the inevitable dictatorial outcome typical of any failed and morally bankrupt state.
We don't want it. It's never going to produce enough jobs to warrant it on our doorstep
View all 10 comments on this article