Time is running out to object to Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station

Theo Simon
Friday, 13th January 2012

Theo Simon from the band, Seize The Day, urges us to object to the new nuclear plant station, Hinkley Point in West Somerset, and explains why it is important to act now. He explains that the plant has inadequate safety provision and does not take account of the world's changing climate or the resources required to store nuclear waste for future generations.

I have just entered my objections to the proposed nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in West somerset online. I decided not to just assume that some one else would do it, and my own comments wouldn't count. The deadline for objections is Jan 23rd. All objections will have to be considered. The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) form is pretty straightforward, and I urge you to put something in, regardless of whether you think you are the kind of person who does things like that or not! The form is at: http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/projects/south-west/hinkley-point-c-new-nuclear-power-station/ 

Filling it in does not commit you to anything else, but it will help massively if we can demonstrate that there is opposition, as the local population has been heavily subdued by promises of jobs and other sweetners from EDF who want to build the reactors. If you don't know where to start, look at the guidelines on the Stop Hinkley website: http://stophinkley.org/ 

You don't have to limit what you object to, regardless of what the guidelines say. Please do it if you possibly can, and please forward this to others. l

My own entry is posted below, but don't feel that you have to attempt to use 'planning' language as your own words and feelings as a citizen are completely valid, since all of us (not to mention our descendants) would have to live with the economic and environmental impact of this potentially disasterous project, which is currently being seen as 'a done deal'.

Theo's IPC (Infrastructure Planning Commission) submission:

Plans for this development do not make adequate provision for the danger of flooding and structural damage arising from an unforseen tidal wave event. Such events have occurred before in this area (one is on record for instance from 1607) and cannot reasonably be ruled out in future, especially in light of the theoretical possibility that the depletion of ice mass at the earth's poles (caused by climate change) will lead to increased seismic activity in the next few centuries.

Furthermore, there is inadequate and negligent planning for protecting the people of Somerset, Devon and South Wales, including my family and friends, from harm in the event of a worst-case scenario accident, whether caused by human error, malicious attack, technical failure or natural events. Specifically there are weaknesses in the off-site emergency communications plan which could delay an immediate large-scale response by up to 3 hours. There is also no clear provision for the level of manpower and emergency service resource that would need to be immediately available to prevent injury and death in the event of such an emergency. As the proposers of this development, EDF have a duty of care towards us, the residents of Somerset, which they have not adequately discharged in this current application.

The huge financial burden of picking up the shortfall in these plans would fall on the tax-payer. Furthermore, there is inadequate planning for the disposal of toxic waste produced by this facility. The storage of such waste on-site with no guarantee currently possible for its eventual disposal exposes the population to the risk of contamination through flooding or other unforseen accidents and more importantly is negligent towards future generations who must maintain the containment of the waste produced by EDF at their expense or suffer the consequences. This is particularly negligent because it assumes that future generations will necessarily have the information and the social and physical resources they will need to continue this safe containment.

Jerry Simon |
Sat, 14/01/2012 - 09:28

Apart from human error (always possible), design flaws (I don't know about that - I expect the engineering design will be well-considered), the waste problem (insufficiently addressed, as Theo points out), and the unknowable risks from geological and extreme climate events - there is one huge hanging question in relation to nuclear power installations that no-one appears to ever take into account.
Every so often there's a flurry on the news about the possibility of a new disease emerging and becoming PANDEMIC, bandying about figures such as "possibly 1 in 5 of the world's population could be affected". Hasn't happened yet. Could it? NO-ONE KNOWS, another unknowable possibility. I frequently hear that it's a HIGH possibility.
Look at that photo of the Hinckley Point facility & get imagining: 1 in 5 of the staff are off sick or dead. Of the 4 out of 5 left, nearly all of them are at their wits end because of sickness in the family, difficulty in getting petrol for the car to get to work, traffic pile-ups on the way to work that no-one's dealing with. Hmm. Not really enough to keep it operating. OK, we'll bus in some other nuclear scientists to help out. No, to shut it down. Ah. 1 in 5 of THEM are off sick or dead too... Hmm... OMG what's that? There's been an explosion? Jeez, at a time like this when our numbers are down! Call emergency services! WHY can't they cope? 1 in 5 firefighters, ambulance workers, doctors, police, army, electricity infrastructure providers, water company workers off sick or dead? Aaaaaaaaargh....
This technology too complex, too specialised, too precarious. Too dodgy to use. No thank you. Please: NO.

eddowding |
Sun, 15/01/2012 - 18:21

Thanks for raising this. I'm sorry to say that my father is a local councillor there, too, and despite many long conversations, he's still convinced he's doing the right thing.

You might like to add to your objections, too, that it's a shockingly old design (3rd generation) with only a 60 year lifespan, and newer, safer designs are becoming available. But EDF has experience of these, hence its desire to flog the dead horse.

If it goes ahead it's not going to be outputting power until 2020s, by which time more of the developing technologies will be commercially available. These will almost certainly have a shorter build time, require a smaller footprint, and be considerably safer.


So for the sake of "keeping the lights on" they're committing us to looking after another crappy old nuclear power station, built in the worst possible place in a time of rising sea levels; when they could be sitting tight 8 years and then going with some far more acceptable nuclear tech (contentious, I know, but look into it - it's actually pretty impressive).

So much for bold leadership and a desire to make the 21st century a good one for humanity.

Thanks, Dad, that's courageous of you.