21 May 2007: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today expressed its concern that the Planning White Paper will open the way for new-build nuclear power stations to be imposed on communities without any chance for them to engage in the real debates around the safety of plans that will damage their area for centuries.
With no safe means of storage yet found for existing, let alone future waste and the risks of catastrophic pollution from both accidents and terrorism, CND believes nuclear power is simply not worth the risk.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “It is laughable for Gordon Brown to be speaking of rebuilding public trust and seeking more public engagement on the environment when this announcement will remove rights from the public and place massive decisions in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable commission”.
Many of the decisions to be removed from local scrutiny to the Independent Planning Commission are especially vital when it comes to nuclear new-build. Numerous safety concerns are site specific, with the effects of rising sea levels a potential problem for the many low-lying nuclear sites.
Despite the ‘greenwash’ being applied to this announcement, nuclear power is not the answer to climate change, with the Government’s own Sustainable Development Commission concluding that even with a doubling of nuclear capacity and the resultant waste mountain, British carbon emissions would only drop by 8% compared to the 60% target set by Government. Additionally, a recent report by the highly respected Oxford Research Group notes that due to the increasing scarcity of uranium and the energy-intensive purification process, nuclear power would generate as much CO2 per kilowatt as a gas-fired power station by 2050, assuming the proportion of global power production from nuclear remains static.
Long Term Nuclear Waste Storage
Also announced is a framework for a long term waste storage facility. This is unfortunately a necessary decision, but with the half-life of waste stretching to hundreds of thousands of years one that must be thoroughly considered, not pushed through to encourage private investment in new nuclear build.
Last year the government Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) reported that given the processes and procedures that have to be undertaken, it would not be possible even to begin the underground burial of radioactive waste until at least 2045, with the burial sites sealed in 2120. Their timeline only deals with existing waste meaning if new nuclear power plants are built additional burial sites will likely have to be found, extending the timeline even further into the future.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament further commented “The idea that a permanent nuclear waste dump could be imposed on an area with minimal public input – limited to the specifics and not the principled decision, is ghastly. Removing popular and judicial control from a decision to store British civil and military nuclear waste, potentially alongside imported foreign intermediate level waste in a community for thousands of years is profoundly undemocratic. Under this process it will be almost irrelevant whether a community supports or oppose such a development – the Whitehall decision will be implemented regardless”.
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, 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 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.