BNFL plans new nuclear power stations
At least nine new nuclear power stations are in the pipeline in Britain if British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) gets its way. The state-owned company is lobbying the British Government to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The new plants will be built on the same sites as the ailing Magnox power stations that are due to be taken out of service over the next two decades. The notorious Sellafield site in Cumbria has also been earmarked as a possible location for this new breed of power stations.
BNFL believes that the stations are worth building as they will be able to use the 61-tonne stockpile of plutonium that has been built up in over the years. The new stations will use the mixed oxide (mox) fuel currently being produced in Sellafield's mox reprocessing plant. It was this plant that was found late last year to have systematically falsified its safety data.
What is not clear from BNFL's plans is, apart from the massive environmental threat they pose, will they be economically viable? It was disclosed in 1998 that expert studies justifying the multi-billion investment in the THORP reprocessing plant at Sellafield had never been conducted. So what economic studies have they commissioned this time to measure the rationale for having the plant?
Worse still, the plants are being presented as a way of producing power while cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions from oil and coal burning plants. Once again our environment and the future safety of that environment is being threatened by British Nuclear Fuels. Once again the Dublin Government seems to be silent on this crucial issue.
If you want to e-mail BNFL and complain about their new plans they can be found at www.bnfl.com. You could also contact the Minister of State at the Department of Environment and Local Government Joe Jacob, who is responsible for policy on Sellafield and BNFL at www.enviro.ie or at the department's headquarters at Custom House, Dublin 1.