Dear Mr Samson,
NuGen’s Moorside Project and Public Consultations
We note that it is now 11 months since the end of NuGen’s Stage 2 Public Consultation and that the promised Feedback Report has not yet appeared. Whilst acknowledging that the consultation carried more detailed data and drew significantly more responses than its Stage 1 predecessor – for which a Feedback Report was published just 4 months after that consultation ended – we nevertheless consider the delay in producing either the interim report – promised ‘within a few weeks’ in August last year (NuGen News Release 31.8.16) – or a final report on the Stage 2 consultation, to be unwarranted.
Whilst we also acknowledge that the overall process of consultation has been significantly blown off course by the ‘shareholder and vendor challenges and ongoing investment uncertainties’ that you describe as facing the Project. We believe however that such matters should not have compromised NuGen’s professional and administrative ability to compile and publish the Stage 2 Feedback Report by now, and find the failure hard to reconcile with NuGen’s view that ‘consultation and engagement with the community is an important part of building a sustainable project’ on the basis that ‘openness and transparency about our plans is the key to building trust’ (NuGen Proposed Scheme document, May 2016).
We note that NuGen has held local meetings recently with elected representatives and technical and special interest groups to update them on the progress of NuGen’s project review and to ‘discuss the company’s current transitional phase’. It should come as little surprise to you that such information has not trickled down to those mere mortals, including CORE, who make up a majority of the two thousand Stage 2 consultation respondents. This is highly regrettable and leaves them collectively in limbo about NuGen’s consultation and development intentions.
Given the ongoing investor uncertainty, we recognise too that your current review of the Project is increasingly likely to confirm the possibility of a reactor type other than the Westinghouse AP1000 being deployed at Moorside – the South Korean APR1400 for example. In which case, the parameters of your original plans for Moorside will have to be amended to take account of changes to a range of issues including land take and nuclear island configuration and footprint. Under such changed circumstances many consultees will be wondering whether, in the current absence of the promised consultation feedback, the significant time and effort expended in ploughing through the mountain of Stage 1 & 2 consultation documents was indeed merited. Equally they will wonder whether their efforts have been completely wasted should your current review concludes that the use of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor at Moorside is to be abandoned.
On such issues, and in response to this open letter, we would appreciate an explanation from you without delay which addresses the following specifically:
- the anticipated conclusion date of NuGen’s current Strategic Review
- the currently anticipated publication date of the Stage 2 Feedback Report
- whether a change in reactor type for Moorside renders such a report null and void and require the Stage 1 & 2 consultations to be thrown overboard in their entirety
- or simply re-run with all AP1000 data excised and new reactor data inserted
- whether the call for additional consultation on the Stage 1 & 2 processes by CORE, Local Authorities and others is still being considered by NuGen
Providing updates to NuGen’s choice of elected representatives and special interest groups, whilst at the same time failing to keep consultees updated on their consultation efforts and the status of the process, smacks of an unhealthy disdain for those whose views and cooperation NuGen claims to be key to building trust. We await you response.
CORE Campaign Coordinator.