'Rush' for new N-plants condemned
Environmental campaigners have accused the Government of pushing forward with new nuclear power plants before lessons could be learned from the Fukushima disaster, ahead of the publication of a report on the crisis.
This week the Department of Energy and Climate Change is expected to publish the final report into the implications for the UK nuclear industry of the disaster at the tsunami-hit Fukushima reactor in Japan.
But Greenpeace is concerned that the inquiry has been conducted too fast to learn the lessons from the crisis which began when the nuclear plant was hit by a tsunami following the magnitude 9 earthquake in March, with information still emerging.
And the green group said the Government had not even waited for the final report, conducted by nuclear chief inspector Dr Mike Weightman, before signalling the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power plants this summer.
In initial findings published in May, Dr Weightman ruled out the need for the UK to curtail the operation of nuclear power stations in light of the situation in Japan.
Dr Weightman said the possibility of similar natural events, which saw a magnitude-9 earthquake and 14-metre tsunami batter the Japanese coast, were not "credible" in the UK.
He also said existing and planned nuclear power stations in this country were of a different design to those at Fukushima, which were rocked by explosions and damage to the reactors after the tsunami shut down power to the plants, knocking out their cooling facilities.
And flooding risks were unlikely to prevent construction of new nuclear power stations at potential development sites in the UK, all of which are on the coast, he said.
Dr Weightman said there was no need to change the current strategy for siting new nuclear power plants.
But he said lessons could still be learned from the nuclear accident in Japan.