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Nuclear power will never be an acceptable option - Morgan

4 April, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment Arthur Morgan T.D. has reacted angrily to the comments by Forfás that "Ireland should consider the possibility of developing nuclear energy as a more long-term solution," saying that Nuclear power will never be an acceptable option in Ireland.

Deputy Morgan said, "For many years we have been warning of the dangers of over dependency on oil. The failure to make the transition away from the use of fossil fuels and towards renewable energy including, wind, wave and solar power has been highlighted by environmental groups, those seeking to develop renewable energy and technologies and by parties including my own. The Government has consistently dragged its feet. Only now are grants for householders seeking to install solar panels, geothermal heating system and wood pellet stoves coming on stream.

"I believe a kite is being flown in relation to nuclear power. The comments contained in the Forfás report come only a short time after the Government refused to join with Austria and Germany in opposing nuclear power at the recent European Council. This Government's support for the European Council's call for a new generation of nuclear power was highly significant indicator of a changing position in relation to nuclear power.

"Now as a result of the Government failure, since coming to office in 1997, to act to develop renewable energy and energy saving technologies we are being told that there is an energy crisis. We will be told that the energy crisis must be treated as a national emergency, in order to advance the pro nuclear agenda. We will be told that we have to do things that we mightn't do in a different set of circumstances, that we have no choice but to turn to nuclear power.

"When the Government published the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Bill 2006 in recent months Sinn Féin highlighted our concern at the fact that the proposed legislation included in the infrastructure developments to be fast tracked "an industrial installation for the production of electricity, steam or hot water with a heat output of 300 megawatts or more". We asked if a nuclear power station could be fast tracked under this provision. That question is now more pertinent than ever.

"The Irish people are overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear power. It will never be acceptable here. The potential costs of nuclear power in terms of the destruction of human life and the environment are a price the Irish people have made clear they are not willing to pay." ENDS

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