The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) submits today its response to the Stage 1 consultation by NuGeneration Ltd to build new nuclear reactors at Moorside, close to Sellafield in West Cumbria. NFLA argues that the project will result in adverse impact which outweighs the benefits and it should be cancelled. (1)
NuGeneration Ltd (NuGen) – a joint venture nuclear company between Toshiba and Engie (formerly GDF Suez) – is holding a ten week consultation between 16th May and 25th July 2015 into its proposal to build a new nuclear power station at Moorside adjacent to Sellafield in Cumbria. (2)
Toshiba was one of the firms responsible for designing, building and servicing the reactors which directly contributed to the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck on 14 March 2011. Greenpeace has accused Toshiba of dodging its responsibilities, failing to pay the public compensation and even profiting from the clean-up. Toshiba has avoided explaining its responsibility in the Fukushima nuclear disaster as a supplier of critical equipment. (3)
Engie is the owner of the Belgian nuclear utility Electrabel. Electrabel operates two nuclear power stations – Doel and Tihange – with a total of seven reactors, which between them produce over half the country’s electricity. The Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors have been plagued by cracks in their reactor vessels and have been closed (for the second time) since spring 2014. The Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) has ruled out any re-start before November 2015. (4)
In its detailed submission to NuGen Ltd, NFLA make the following key points:
- The global electricity market has changed significantly, rapidly and unexpectedly since the UK Government finalised its National Policy Statements on Energy in 2011. Several investment banks and financial and energy research organisations are now predicting an end to centralised utility models and large power stations. If these trends continue as expected at the current rate NuGen could find itself with stranded assets before the construction of Moorside has been completed.
- Experience suggests that such a large construction project in a relatively remote area like West Cumbria is likely to severely disrupt the local economy and could, in fact, lead to an increase in unemployment by the time construction is finished.
- Moorside’s geology, has been described by Amec as: ‘difficult to construct a nuclear power station … the depth to reach bed rock is so great that construction is unreasonable – it is not the most favourable site and currently has significant commercial disadvantages’. (5)
- The AP1000 reactor does not have a good operating record and there are currently no AP1000s operating anywhere in the world. Even if the UK’s plan to build a deep geological disposal facility goes according to plan, nuclear waste may need to be stored for the next 160 years. To all intents and purposes Moorside will become a long term radioactive waste dump.
- There are alternative and more sustainable ways of developing the local economy and these alternatives should be thoroughly investigated as part of any environmental impact assessment process.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor Mark Hackett said:
This detailed NFLA submission deconstructs the case for new nuclear reactors at Sellafield Moorside. It argues that the design case for the AP1000 has as many weaknesses in it as EDF’s EPR design for Hinkley Point and Hitachi’s ABWR design for Wylfa. In each of these cases, the nuclear industry has failed to get these designs fully off the ground around the world. I always hear that new nuclear will create thousands of new jobs but the question is at what social cost to the local economy and local people? NFLA does not think this proposed project is a good deal for Cumbria or the UK economy and its energy infrastructure.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 0161 234 3244 or Pete Roche NFLA Policy Advisor on 0131 444 1445.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA New Nuclear Monitor 38 is attached with this media release. It will be placed on the NFLA website in the ‘New Nuclear Monitor’ section – http://www.nuclearpolicy.info
(2) NuGeneration Ltd http://www.nugenconsultation.com/consultation-documents/
(3) Greenpeace 5th March 2013 http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/how-can-the-nuclear-industry-profit-from-nucl/blog/44192/
(4) World Nuclear Association Briefing June 2015 http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/Belgium/
(5) AMEC presentation (slide 19) to Nuclear Influencing Strategy Workshop, Kendal, 10th January 2008