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Government should admit pro nuclear policy – Morgan

22 November, 2006

Sinn Fein Environment Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD, today said that it was high time the Irish Government came out and admitted that they are actually in favour of the use of nuclear power plants such as Sellafield despite their previous statements to the contrary. Deputy Morgan made these comments in light of the accord signed by more than 30 countries including Ireland, allowing for the construction of an International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor at Cadarache, near Marseille in France.

Deputy Morgan said, "It is quite clear that the Irish Government is in favour of the use of nuclear power despite their declarations to the contrary due to their unwillingness to put pressure on the British government to stop the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants in Britain. Now, Ireland has signed up to the construction of a new nuclear reactor at the cost of €10billion in France. The signatories of this agreement may try to argue that it will be 100% safe because it will use nuclear fusion technology rather than nuclear fission. However I would have very grave reservations even on that given the place where the nuclear reactor will be facilitated.

"Cadarache in France is situated directly on an earth-quake fault line and numerous environmental awareness and campaign groups in France have already raised this as a primary concern. Indeed, in 1995 the Director for the Safety of Nuclear Installations in France held a meeting with the plants operators asking for the MOX fuel fabrication facility to be shut down which obviously never happened. Scientific research has shown that seismic activity has gone up in the area since 1993 and yet, the Irish Government still support this move.

"This is the world's biggest scientific project since the international space station and they are situating a centre for nuclear energy on an earth quake line. There is absolutely zero sense in this. The Irish Government should make it clear that the colossal funding that will be allocated to this project by the EU should be allotted to funding climate change initiatives rather than to a project that some scientists even doubt will result in a major source of energy.

"All of this clearly show's the Irish governments steady shift towards the policy of accepting the use of any form of nuclear energy. The present rise in energy cots must not be allowed to be exploited by the pro-nuclear lobby in Britain, or indeed in Ireland, to rehabilitate the discredited nuclear industry. Alternative forms of nuclear power are not acceptable. We need alternatives to nuclear power not more of them." ENDS

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