Friday, 24 July 2009



Parliamentary Questions have revealed a disturbing catalogue of fires and coolant leaks at UK nuclear installations over the last eight years – raising serious public safety and environmental concerns.

Since 2001 there have been 82 fires and 83 coolant leaks recorded at nuclear installations - in the last six months alone there were six fires and three coolant leaks.

Last month a Channel 4 News investigation revealed that the Sizewell A nuclear power station came close to a serious nuclear disaster in June 2007 when, only by pure luck, a contractor noticed water leaking from the radioactive cooling pond that posed significant risk to operators and the public. Parliamentary Questions by the SNP now reveal that incident, which occurred just as the UK government was trying to soften up the public for the building of new reactors, was not isolated.

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP said:

“One incident is troubling, but this catalogue of fires and leaks is extremely disturbing, and the obvious fear is what could have happened if any one of these incidents had not been detected in time.

“It paints a very unsettling picture about the state these installations are in, and how they are operating.

“These incidents are clearly inconvenient for UK Ministers who seem more interested in selling the idea of new generation of reactors than telling us about the dangers of the existing ones.

“The risks and uncertainties of nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are far too great.

“This situation perfectly illustrates the safety problems of nuclear power and underlines the wisdom of the Scottish Government's energy strategy - based on our vast clean, green energy sources including renewables, clean coal and carbon capture.

"Without nuclear power, Scotland has the natural resources to generate clean, green power. Harnessing that potential can meet our future energy demands several times over, while tackling climate change and without the danger and uncertainty of nuclear.”

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