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Campaigners call for closure of nuclear power station and official investigation into uranium contam
south west | the environment | news report Monday January 24, 2011 18:11 by Kick Nuclear Press Release
Campaigners call for closure of nuclear power station and official investigation into uranium contamination claims
Kick Nuclear Press Release
Environmental pressure group, Kick Nuclear, is calling for the closure of Hinkley Point nuclear power station in West Somerset. This follows the publication of an independent report claiming that land surrounding the site could be contaminated with up to 10 tonnes of highly toxic enriched uranium.
Kick Nuclear says the implications are so serious that the plant’s operator, British Energy, should not allow employees to continue working on the site. The organisation is also demanding that parent company, EDF Energy, halts all preparatory construction work on adjacent land earmarked for two new reactors.
Kick Nuclear spokeswoman, Nancy Birch, says an immediate investigation must be carried out by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in conjunction with independent experts. ‘Enriched uranium is so dangerous that any hint of contamination must be investigated quickly and rigorously,’ she continued. ‘This means the whole area around Hinkley and downwind to Burnham-on-Sea must be checked by both the government watchdog and an independent agency to ensure impartiality.’
And Nancy slammed EDF Energy for dismissing the report’s claims – even though the findings are based on data from an environmental impact assessment commissioned by EDF itself. ‘The report concludes that the contamination could well have come from the air,’ she explains. ‘If this is the case, then employees and people living downwind of the plant are still being exposed to radioactive particles being emitted from the reactor. These particles can cause cancer if they get into the body. If EDF Energy is a responsible company, it should be putting people’s health before their profits.’
The report, written by environmental research group, Green Audit, found that uranium levels were four times higher than average levels expected in the area. Its authors, Professor Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk and Somerset-based researcher Cecily Collingridge, concluded that the contamination could be linked to increased cancer rates downwind of Hinkley Point.
A test of radiation levels on the Hinkley Point site carried out by local resident Nikki Clark with a Geiger counter found that the readings were higher than EDF’s. She is now calling for Sedgemoor District Council to push for a full inspection. ‘The Environment Agency’s nuclear inspector has already told me that he is not concerned about the report,’ she said. ‘The indifference to this issue is scandalous.’
Note to editors
Green Audit’s report, Significant radioactive contamination at proposed sited for nuclear power station, is based on data provided in an environmental impact assessment commissioned by EDF Energy as part of the process towards building two new reactors next to the existing power station at Hinkley Point.
The full report can be found at www.llrc.org
Kick Nuclear is a campaign group dedicated to informing the public about the underlying dangers of nuclear energy. It is part of the national Stop Nuclear Power Network.
Stop Nuclear Power Network