Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Letter from Martin Whiteside at Stroud

I wonder how many people in our area realise that they are downwind of the site for a huge new nuclear power station?

What is proposed is a power station of around 3,300Mw capacity - over seven times the current output of the existing Oldbury power station. This will involve either two French designed Areva EPR reactors, of which the first examples currently under construction in Finland and France are both beset with problems, or three of the American Westinghouse AP1000. Both designs are based on the pressurised water design (or PWR), which will rely on the integrity of its steel pressure vessels for its up to 60 years design life. Finally, even our mighty Severn seems insufficient to supply the cooling requirements. It may need three or four cooling towers that could be nearly 700 feet tall, with a steam plume on top.

So there will be a considerable visual impact. But that is not what worries me. I am worried about the safety of the pressurised water design, which, over the years, has given us both the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown, admittedly by another manufacturer (Babcock & Wilcox), and many scares concerning problems with corrosion and metallurgy. Yes, lessons will have been learned from these incidents, yes, we have an independent nuclear regulation and inspection system. But for a proposed sixty year reactor life?

A serious accident at the Oldbury nuclear sites would give rise to airborne contamination, and the prevailing south-westerly winds will bring any contamination to us first. Nuclear power carries with it a massive potential risk and it is not right that those of us who are concerned about such issues won’t get our say at a public enquiry. Additionally after over 50 years of nuclear energy production there is still no site identified for the long-term internment of nuclear waste. Apparently this merely requires a technical solution. Well where is it?

It beggars belief that the government still spends far more on nuclear power research than it does on benign, natural sources such as wave power and that the energy agenda is only ever really addressed and meaningfully funded in terms of increasing capacity and never in terms of smart ways to decrease demand.

As a country we do need to plan for the energy gap as many of our current power stations come to the end of their lives, North Sea oil runs out and gas supplies risk political interruption. We need a coherent programme of large-scale renewable installation, AND a programme of meaningful energy efficiencies measures. Without these in place the case for new nuclear has not been made.

Martin Whiteside – Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud
Thrupp, Stroud

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