30 September 2005: for immediate release

CND reacted with alarm today to the news that the government is likely to approve BNFL’s plans to sell off operations at Sellafield and other major nuclear plants to the private sector.

Taken together with a government orientation towards new-build nuclear power stations, and Tony Blair’s speech on Tuesday at Labour Party Conference which indicated that nuclear power was likely to be seen as part of future energy policy, CND believes that Britain is facing unacceptable new nuclear dangers.

Nuclear power is not the answer to Britain’s energy needs and is not a solution to global warming. Nuclear power poses environmental and health threats to communities living in proximity to power stations, in particular there is evidence of leukaemia clusters linked to nuclear power production. It also presents the danger of potential disasters as was so tragically seen at Chernobyl. The nuclear power process produces enormous amounts of radioactive waste, some of which is dangerous for thousands of years, and no safe solution has yet been devised to store it, even after around half a century of production. Nuclear power is extremely expensive to produce and has cost the British taxpayer an inordinate amount in subsidies to the industry. And contrary to what the nuclear power lobby would like to suggest, the nuclear power process also produces greenhouse gas emissions, taking the whole cycle into account from uranium mining onwards.

Concerns about the safety record of Britain’s nuclear industry have come to the fore recently after it was revealed that enormous amounts of leaked radioactive liquid had lain undetected on the floor for months at the Sellafield plant in Cumbria.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said:

‘Enormously expensive, nuclear power production has produced a massive radioactive waste legacy, much of which will poison our land for thousands of years to come. To consider building new nuclear power stations, given both the safety issues and the unresolved problem of waste, is absolutely irresponsible. To introduce commercial considerations into the running of nuclear power plants will only escalate these problems. It is often the case that health and safety takes second place to the production of profit in the private sector. In the case of the nuclear industry where the consequences of an accident would be so catastrophic, this is not a risk worth taking.’

CND calls for the closure of all British nuclear power stations, for a commitment from the government not to build any new nuclear power stations, and for serious investment in renewables together with public education about energy savings.


Notes to Editor:

1. For further information and interviews please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere. www.cnduk.org