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Activists slam government decision on 'new nuclear' power

An anti-nuclear alliance has branded the government’s decision to give the green light to a new generation of nuclear power stations as, ‘grossly irresponsible’. And the campaigners have vowed to step up plans for a mass blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station this autumn.

Speaking as the House of Commons today debates the government’s National Policy Statement on the construction of ten new nuclear power reactors, Nikki Clark, a spokesperson for Stop New Nuclear said:

‘How can the government give the go-ahead for a new generation of reactors when it has failed to carry out a proper assessment of the health implications? How can the government allow the construction of new reactors when the designs have not been approved by the nuclear regulators? ’

The Stop New Nuclear alliance has already gathered over 100 pledges of support for a mass blockade of Hinkley Point power station in Somerset on October 3rd. The plant’s owner, EDF Energy, is currently applying for planning permission to build two new mega-reactors next to the existing site.

Angie Zelter, of Trident Ploughshares, a member of the Stop New Nuclear alliance said the blockade aims to be a symbol of the growing concern over the government’s cavalier approach to the safety risks of nuclear energy and low-level radiation.

She said: ‘With more pledges coming in every day, this event will be big. Ordinary people are fed up with being deceived about the real risks and costs associated with nuclear power. The pledgers know that nuclear power is not the answer to climate change. Reports by respected organisations including the New Economics Foundation and Greenpeace have clearly shown there are viable alternatives.’

Angie continued: ‘It’s only four months since the beginning of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi power station and the UK government is already rushing through approval for new nuclear in the UK. This is a disgrace. The International Atomic Energy Agency describes the ongoing crisis at Fukushima as 'very serious' and we still have no proper information about how it went so badly wrong, let alone the long-term effects of radiation contamination.’

Contacts:
Nikki Clark, Stop Hinkley, 07736-930069
Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, 07835-354652

More information on Stop New Nuclear: http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk

A list of those pledgers who have agreed to their names being made public is
available at http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk/signatories

Notes for editors
Stop New Nuclear is a committed to stopping nuclear power stations being built in the UK. It comprises: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop Nuclear
Power Network UK, Kick Nuclear, South West Against Nuclear, Shutdown
Sizewell, Sizewell Blockaders, Trident Ploughshares, and Stop Hinkley.

Key areas of concern regarding the National Policy Statement on Nuclear Power Generation are listed below:

Page 13: 2.6.4 ‘Given that Justification is a separate regulatory process a
decision regarding the grant of development consent should not be
delayed in the event that a Regulatory Justification decision is subject
to legal challenge. If there are concerns about a challenge to, or the
validity of, a Regulatory Justification decision, the IPC should
consider whether requirements 29 should be attached to the Development
Consent Order to the effect that the order is conditional on the
existence of a valid Regulatory Justification decision."

Stop Nuclear Power comment:
Rory Walker from Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance (HANA) is currently pursuing a legal challenge to the justification (see
http://stopnuclearpoweruk.net/2011/03/government-faces-high-court-challe...).
Walker maintains the government has breached its own rules by failing to carry out an assessment of the health risks of nuclear power before new plants are built.

Point 2.7.3 The licensing and permitting of nuclear power stations by the
nuclear regulators is a separate regulatory process which nuclear power
stations have to undergo. To avoid unnecessary duplication and / or
delay and to ensure that planning and regulatory expertise are focussed
on the most appropriate areas, when considering a development consent
application the IPC should act on the basis that:
• the relevant licensing and permitting regimes will be properly applied
and enforced;
• it should not duplicate the consideration of matters that are within
the remit of the Nuclear Regulators (see paragraph 2.7.4 below); and
• it should not delay a decision as to whether to grant consent until
completion of the licensing or permitting process (see paragraphs 2.7.5
and 2.7.6 below)."

Stop Nuclear Power comment:
This means that planning consent and construction can begin befoe the reactor design has been approved.

Page 17: 2.11.4 Given paragraphs 2.11.2 and 2.11.3 above the question of
whether effective arrangements will exist to manage and dispose of the
waste that will be produced from new nuclear power stations has been
addressed by the Government and the IPC should not consider this further."

Stop Nuclear Power comment:
The government is giving permission for new reactors to be built even though there is no scientifically proven method of long-term storage. However, because the government claims that the issue has been ‘addressed’, the problem of long-term storage cannot be raised as a planning issue.

ENDS

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