Monday, 18 October 2010
LOCAL CAMPAIGN GROUP HIGHLIGHTS SERIOUS FLAW IN THE TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE NEW NUCLEAR REACTORS
The campaign group objecting to the construction of a new generation nuclear power station at the site known as 'Oldbury' have found a serious flaw in the Government's technical assessment of the new generation of nuclear reactors.
Both the Areva EPR and the Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors, which have not yet been tried and tested anywhere in the world, have been assessed by the HSE and the Environment Agency who want now to release a conditional approval of these reactors as a part of the licencing process for installation in the UK.
However, during a recent public consultation the group, Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy, learned that the assessment has been carried out on a theoretical 'generic' site using only one reactor and in a coastal location. Given that none of the electricity companies proposing to build these new power stations intend to build a site with less than one reactor the cummulative impacts of more than one reactor on a site have not yet been looked at.
The EON/RWE joint venture who want to build on the site in the village of Shepperdine, 2.5km north of Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire will have either two of the Areva or three of the Westinghouse reactors and therefore the impacts will be two or three times that of the data in the technical assessments. Worse still, because the Shepperdine site is not coastal the impacts due to the need for cooling towers has not been considered at all.
The GDA licencing process is inadequate and given this is a completely new technology, untried or tested anywhere in the world, we find this extremely worrying. The Government is rushing in to this whole thing and must slow down before serious mistakes are made which can not then be reversed.
These reactors will be larger than any nuclear reactor currently in operation anywhere in the world by far, four times the output of the existing reactors at Oldbury and as such the technical requirements are completely different.
At the very least, the GDA licencing should make it perfectly clear that it only relates to coastal locations where direct cooling techniques are possible. However, this is only if the cumulative impacts of more than one reactor on the same site have been looked in to properly.
The campaign group have completely lost confidence in the technical assessment of these reactors. They have not even looked in to the methods of storage of the highly toxic waste produced by this high burn up technique in any detail. The Government's plans for long term disposal of this waste are so uncertain that DECC have advised that it will have to remain on site for 160 years plus. Yet the brief details on this assume it will be on site for up to 100 years. Either way it is far too long for the community to put up with this hazardous material on their doorstep. Not forgetting this will be on the flood plain of the River Severn for generations to come!
"We remain very concerned that the current track record and financial stability of both Areva and Westinghouse may leave the possibility of half completed projects when the energy companies run out of funds. Unless the then government bail them out with taxpayers funds" says Reg Illingworth of SANE
"We know that the Shepperdine site offers massive logistical and construction issues that E-on and RWE say can be mitigated. I can imagine an archaeologist in 1000years looking at the half built structure and laughing out loud at the human generation that attempted to build it" he added
Our full response sent to the Environment Agency can be seen at http://www.shepperdineagainstnuclearenergy.org.uk/news-and-press/article-123-2010-10/our-groups-response-to-the-environment-agency-s-gda-consultation-october-2010
Posted by Reg Illingworth at 10:46