NFLA All Ireland Forum Co-Chair, Councillor Mark Dearey comments:
“Irish Councils and communities at last have their say on the potential impacts of the UKs nuclear ambitions and particularly on Hinkley Point C. I am delighted that NFLA have been able to support Local Authorities here to input effective and informed comment. We have provided detailed and accurate information allowing Councils to take the opportunity and raise their concern over Hinkley Point C. It is also a chance to demonstrate that new nuclear is a white elephant which has been outpaced by cheaper greener alternatives that can be deployed in a fraction of the time it takes to build a nuclear power station. I urge our Local Authority members to grasp this opportunity and submit in the next ten days.”
The NFLA All Ireland Forum publishes today an updated submission on the transboundary impacts of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor development. This allows Councils from across the island to make known their views and concerns on it and the wider UK new nuclear programme. (1)
The NFLA welcomes an initiative of the Irish Government, after considerable lobbying from environmental groups like An Taisce and the Friends of the Irish Environment, to enable Irish Councils, NGOs and concerned individuals to raise their concerns on the potential impacts to their areas in the event of an accident or other incident from a UK-based nuclear facility leading to a radiation release drifting over the island.
Last October, the NFLA All Ireland Forum submitted a response to the UK Government’s transboundary consultation on the environmental statement for the Hinkley Point C development. (2) The consultation came after an intervention by the UN Espoo Committee urging transboundary concerns over the development to be raised, and national consultations in the likes of Netherlands and Germany took place then. The Irish Government has negotiated extra time for Irish respondents to put their views to this consultation, with a closing date of April 17th 2018.
The extra time has allowed NFLA to add in additional concerns, including focusing on the 2016 ESRI report on the potential economic impacts to Ireland of a radiation release from a stricken UK or French nuclear facility (3). Amongst the key points of this report were:
- In the worst-case scenario, a nuclear disaster in North West Europe (originating from the UK or France in particular) could create total economic damage to the Irish economy of €161 billion.
- Irish agricultural production would grind to a halt, with the tourism industry and exports also incurring substantial damage.
- Even the most benign scenario considered by ESRI, where no radioactive contamination occurs, could still see a total loss estimated at €4 billion, due to the reputational damage this could have on Ireland.
- By comparison, the total value of corporation tax collected in the first nine months of 2016 (when the report was published) was €4.16 billion.
- ESRI also acknowledge that their analysis underestimates the true extent of such an incident to its cost to the economy.
- In the absolute worst-case scenario in the ESRI study, not only would exports be decimated but the need to import much of the country’s food would lead to far higher domestic costs. There could also be significant potential emigration out of Ireland.
The NFLA submission also includes additional research it has undertaken in its joint response with KIMO International to the March OSPAR Radiation Substances Committee, on the wider impacts of the entire proposed UK new nuclear programme (4). It concludes:
- Gaseous and liquid emissions from the UK’s proposed new reactor programme could mean up to 23 theoretical deaths somewhere in the world for every year all of the reactors operate according to the weight of research on exposure to low level radiation, as noted in a large number of international studies. Since they are each expected to operate for 60 years the total number of theoretical deaths could be 1380.
- The new reactors would produce extremely high levels of radioactive spent fuel. In the year 2200 spent fuel arisings would amount to almost five times the radioactivity contained in all existing legacy wastes from the UK’s nuclear power industry.
- The requirement for ‘Best Available Techniques’ (and clean technology) for producing electricity should rule out building new electricity generating stations which produce such highly dangerous wastes. Especially as less expensive, quicker and safer alternatives are available which don’t produce such wastes.
The Forum will send its submission to all Irish County and City Councils, as well as Regional Assemblies, encouraging them to take part in the Hinkley Point C transboundary consultation. A number of Councils are holding public meetings on this matter, for example Louth County Council’s event will be held on Monday April 9th at 7pm in An Tain Theatre Space, Town Hall, Crowe Street, Dundalk with speakers including Attracta Ui Bhroin. All are welcome to attend. (5)
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA New Nuclear Monitor 53 is attached with this media release and can be downloaded from the front page of the NFLA website.
(2) NFLA New Nuclear Monitor 50, October 19th 2017
(3) Irish Economic and Social Research Institute, October 2016, The Potential Economic Impact of a Nuclear Accident – An Irish Case Study’.
(4) NFLA / KIMO International submission to the OSPAR Radiation Substances Committee on the environmental and discharge risks of a UK new nuclear programme, January 2018
(5) A copy of the flyer of this meeting is also on the NFLA website.