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British government decision to build new Nuclear Power Plants a huge threat

10 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay has said that the formal decision today from the British government to proceed with building a new generation of nuclear power plants is short-sighted and will represent a major threat to the health and safety of everyone living in Ireland.

Mr McKay said:

"This decision is not just short-sighted it also represents a major threat to the health and safety of everyone living in Ireland. Once again the British Government has shown scant regard for the public health of people living on this island. There is well established scientific evidence about the impact that Sellafield and the pollution of the Irish Sea has had on communities living on the east coast of Ireland.

"Given the extremely poor safety record of the management of existing nuclear power plants and high levels of dishonesty around both health and safety concerns no-one can feel positive about this decision. Handing this over to private developers is a huge, it mistake will mean decisions will be driven by profits and not health or safety concerns. The British government doesn't even have a strategy for dealing properly with nuclear waste.

"I am also concern that this decision will mean there is less focus and less investment in developing clean green renewable energy alternatives. Nuclear energy is not the solution to meeting our future energy needs.

"After the Assembly backed the Sinn Fein motion calling for the closure of Sellafield in October last year it was made clear that all the major political institutions on this island want to see the end of the use of nuclear energy.

"I welcome the fact that Alex Salmond has made it clear that there is 'no chance' of more nuclear power stations being built in Scotland and will now be seeking a similar commitment from the Executive here. While Arlene Foster has continually dodged this issue she still has responsibility over planning and could use her powers to ensure that any proposals to build a nuclear facility here are blocked.

"Sinn Féin believes that renewable energy is the way forward and that more research and work should go into this sector in Ireland. British plans to build even more nuclear facilities will be opposed by our party across the island." ENDS

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