Hopes of an environmentally friendly and diversified business future for West Cumbria have been dashed by today’s well-trailed approval by Government of the suitability of the greenfield site north of Sellafield for new reactor build.
CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood said today
This fixation on suffocating West Cumbria with all things nuclear ignores the wealth of evidence against the suitability of the proposed site and clearly has more to do with appeasing the nuclear apologists promoting the Energy Coast Masterplan than ensuring a safe, economic and reliable source of electricity for the UK”.
The proposed site’s green field status and its accepted remoteness from the UK’s south and south-east regions where the electricity is needed – together with the lack of national grid infrastructure – should have ruled out the site long ago. That these obvious ‘show-stoppers’ have been ignored by Government enforces the widely held view that the UK’s renewable energy potential – particularly that of Cumbria – is being sacrificed on the altar of a nuclear power programme that can only survive with significant taxpayer subsidies.
Martin Forwood added:
“The ball is now in the developer’s court and we wait with interest to see how NuGeneration intends to overcome the poor geology of the site for reactor construction, the problems with extracting plutonium saturated sea water for cooling the reactors (or syphoning yet more from local lakes and rivers) and the likely desecration of the National Park with a new grid system. Given these drawbacks and the stalling of the worldwide nuclear renaissance, it is hardly surprising that their decision to sink £15Bn or more on 3 reactors won’t be made until around 2015”.
Note for Editors:
(i) Unlike the developers of the UK’s other proposed sites, NuGeneration has to date provided no information as to how it plans to develop the proposed site adjacent to Sellafield, or which reactor type will be used – the French EPR or the US Westinghouse AP1000. Neither type has yet been proved operationally.
(ii) Cumbria’s renewable energy potential was highlighted in a report by Cumbria Vision last year. Authored by Sir Martin Holdgate, the report concluded that if developed now, the range of renewables would produce up to 2.500 MW of electricity (at least 2 reactors worth) and create almost 1000 jobs by 2020, and by 2050 be producing over 5000 MW (more than 3 reactors worth) and creating up to 5000 jobs. Though ostensibly supported by the Energy Coast plan, the prospect of fulfilling this renewable potential will be stifled by the promotion of nuclear new build in West Cumbria.