Monday, 12 May 2008

Nuclear Cover-Ups Continue

This is a letter I've written which has been published in today's issue of the North Wales Daily post

Just over 50 years ago the biggest cover up in British nuclear power history occured at Windscale (now Sellafield), where overheating of graphiote rods in the core (due to a rush to develop plutonium and tritium) caused a fire which was afterwards scandalously blamed on the staff who had fought bravely to contain the fire.
These days we are told that the industry has learnt and is now much safer but recent reports from the continent have shown this is not true. In France, the nuclear safety industry inspectors have uncovered a number of faults. Over a quarter of the welds in its stell liner were not in accordance with welding norms and their were cracks found in its concrete base - both of these are potential threats as these things are supposed to contain radioactivity. The design is the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) which is also facing problems in Finland (the only other country where this reactor is being built) and is the propsed design for new nuclear power plants in the UK, including the proposed Wylfa B.
Also, Greenpeace have recently reported that a Spanish nuclear power station, Asco-I, had caused significant radioactive contamination of public areas outside the plant. The plants operator had kept this secret for four months! The state regulatory agency also underestimated the problem for several days and eventually announced that the leak was one hundred times larger than they had originally announced!
Given the dangers involved, should we really trust such companies as involved in these projects with our safety given they are clearly much more interested in making a 'quick buck'? Furthermore do we want to build a new Wylfa B when the proposed reactor is known to be faulty, not to mention the many other problems with nuclear power?

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