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Morgan calls on British to abandon nuclear power plans

21 August, 2006

Sinn Fein spokesperson for Environment Arthur Morgan TD today expressed disappointment at a reply received from Malcolm Wicks MP, British Minister for Energy, on the issue of implementation of the new British Energy Review report and implications for the future of nuclear generation in Britain.

Deputy Morgan said, "It was with immense regret that we in Sinn Fein learned of proposed plans for the construction of new Nuclear Energy plants across Britain, so I wrote to the British government to outline our concerns for the implications of this for the Irish environment and also the health of people across the island. The report was a disappointing and alarming development. The emphasis on developing Nuclear Energy is also an unbelievably retrograde step to take in the context of a growing acceptance globally of the need to pursue environmentally sustainable solutions to our energy problems.

"Minister Wicks in his reply to my letter has stated that the designs of the new reactors 'will reduce the very small accident risks even further'. The fact that there is still any risk, no matter how small, is completely unacceptable to the people of Ireland. Nuclear power in Britain has been characterised by leaks, missing uranium and faulty storage systems. Irish concerns regarding the development of new nuclear power plants in Britain are exasperated by past experience of safety standards not being complied with at existing plants. The people of Ireland have not forgotten these incidents nor have we forgotten that the British Health and Safety Authority have previously found significant deficiencies in the methods of waste storage at Sellafield.

"The British Government maintains that Nuclear Energy is needed to cut carbon emissions. This argument is completely undermined by the fact that if Britain's nuclear facilities were to double it would still only give a mere 8% cut in Co2 emissions by 2035. Nuclear power must be consigned to history. Apart from the health and environmental risks associated with nuclear power there is no long term solution regarding what to do with nuclear waste while the existence of such plants also pose serious risks to international security.

"Britain now has the opportunity to lead the way for other countries in rejecting nuclear power and address climate change and energy security in a viable, realistic and environmentally friendly manner. I urge the British to recognise the safety concerns surrounding their country's present nuclear energy stations and abandon all plans for the expansion of this dangerous, undependable and unsafe industry." ENDS

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