The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum has submitted its views to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on the radioactive waste elements of the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) design proposed for the Wylfa site in Anglesey.
The NFLA Welsh Forum has taken a very close eye with the proposed development of Wylfa B and has raised a number of times that a new nuclear reactor in Anglesey is not required. In March 2017 it raised in detail concerns over the design of the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor in reference to issues arising from the Fukushima disaster. (1)
NRW is consulting on whether it will issue an environmental permit to Horizon Nuclear, wholly owned by Hitachi, for Wylfa B. This is concentrating now on issues around the radioactive waste that would be generated from such a reactor, how it will be managed and stored and for how long it will remain on site.
In its detailed response, NFLA notes (2):
- The nuclear industry has yet to provide a credible scientific case for nuclear waste ‘disposal’. The earliest that emplacement of spent fuel from the UK’s proposed new nuclear reactors programme could begin is at least 2130.
- In addition, the ‘high burn-up’ fuel expected to be used by these new reactors could require up to 100 years of cooling before it would be cool enough to be emplaced in a GDF. So if a new reactor were to come on stream around 2030, with an expected reactor life of 60 years, this means some spent fuel could still be in storage on the reactor site at Wylfa until 2190.
- Wylfa B would produce high levels of radioactive spent fuel. It is expected to increase the UK inventory of radioactive waste by around 80%.
- ABWRs have high gaseous emissions which are more important than liquid emissions in terms of radiation doses to local people. Bearing in mind that Hitachi is proposing to build 2 ABWR reactors at Wylfa, it could lead to a theoretical increase in deaths somewhere in the world for every year the station operates, due to the higher levels of radioactivity emitted to the atmosphere, as studies like the German Government’s ‘KIKK’ study have shown.
- The requirement for ‘Best Available Techniques’ (and clean technology) for producing electricity should rule out building new electricity generating stations which produce such radioactive waste. Especially as less expensive, quicker to build and safer renewable energy alternatives are available which do not produce such wastes.
NFLA Vice-Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“This NFLA submission on Wylfa B’s radioactive waste programme has gone into much detail about the radioactive high burn-up fuel that would be produced from such a reactor, should it ever be built. Such waste would have to remain on site for as much as 160 years and Wylfa B alone could increase the current UK radioactive waste inventory by as much as 80%. NFLA does not see such a waste burden being beneficial to the people of Anglesey or of Wales. There are far safer, less expensive alternatives that do not produce such hazardous materials as what Wylfa will generate. Wales would be far better off then to build solar, tidal, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal energy facilities instead, with energy efficiency and energy storage solutions adequate to deal with intermittency issues.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(2) NFLA Radioactive Waste Briefing 70 with its submission to Natural Resources Wales on the radioactive waste issues with the Wylfa B site is attached with this media release and can be found on the homepage of the NFLA website.