The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today its views (1) on the proposed Scottish Nuclear Sector Plan document being consulted on by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). (2)
SEPA has been consulting on its draft Nuclear Sector Plan with ‘considerable input’ from the nuclear industry.
The plan is SEPA’s vision of how regulations will be enforced to ensure that the nuclear industry is fully compliant with its environmental obligations and is encouraged to go beyond compliance with environmental regulations to ensure that environmental impacts are minimised. SEPA has asked for public comments on its draft plan.
SEPA says its draft plan is ‘ambitious’. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) rather thinks it should be much more ambitious, recognising that nuclear power has no medium or long-term place in a sustainable economy, and that the ‘nuclear waste hierarchy’ should be re-thought to maximise the protection of the public. The NFLA Scottish Forum has also decided to respond to SEPA’s consultation by publishing within it its own vision of a Scotland where nuclear power generation is phased out and the wastes remaining are managed according to a clear set of environmental principles.
The NFLA vision sets out a clear future of a Scotland powered by renewable energy and where the public is protected from man-made sources of radiation wherever possible. Legacy radioactive wastes are stored safely above-ground or near surface on the site where they were produced or as near to it as possible and where they can be monitored and retrieved if problems arise.
The core points of NFLA energy vision for Scotland include:
- The NFLA has a vision of a Scotland powered by 100% renewable energy.
- The public would be protected from man-made sources of radiation wherever possible. Legacy radioactive wastes are stored above-ground or near surface on the site where they were produced, or as near to it as possible, where they can be monitored and retrieved if problems arise.
- The production of nuclear waste and spent fuel should end as soon as is feasible. Waste of all categories from currently operating plants, including spent fuel, would be managed and stored in monitorable retrievable stores at or very near to the site where it is produced for the foreseeable future.
- At this time both reactors at Hunterston B are closed over safety concerns. NFLA’s vision is that these reactors would remain closed due to such safety concerns.
- As part of the Periodic Safety Review process beginning in January 2019, a Full Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out on Torness which looks at ways to supply energy from alternative renewable sources. Our vision is that Torness would cease generation well before 2030.
- NFLA’s view is that Small Modular Nuclear Reactors represent a ‘dead end’ technology and they should be ruled out immediately.
- The NFLA ‘Vision for Dounreay’ is that all transports of waste and nuclear materials would stop immediately. All waste should be immobilised and stored in monitorable retrievable stores on the site.
- In the SEPA plan discharges of radioactive substances into the marine environment should be “reduced to levels where the additional concentrations…above historic levels, resulting from such discharges, emissions and losses are close to zero” by the year 2020. In NFLA’s vision this requires all discharges of radioactivity into the seas to end by 2020. This means that no new nuclear installations should be opened and decommissioning should focus on concentrating and containing radioactive substances.
- The NFLA believes that nuclear power offers a false solution to the climate change problem, and that rather work should be concentrated on true, sustainable, environmentally just solutions to global warming which means a rapid and ‘just transition’ to 100% renewable energy.
NFLA Scotland Forum Vice-Convener, Councillor Audrey Doig said:
“In our model submission to the SEPA Nuclear Sector Plan, NFLA Scotland has informed SEPA that it needs to be much more ambitious in decommissioning and radioactive waste management than it claims to be. The NFLA’s alternative energy vision provides a much more radical, cost effective, safe, sustainable and low carbon way forward. No new nuclear is a core part of that vision in favour of renewables and safe ‘near site, near surface’ management of radioactive waste. I urge SEPA to carefully consider our alternative vision and take it up as part of its official policy of going forward with such policy.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(2) SEPA Nuclear Power Generation and Decommissioning Sector Draft Plan, December 2019