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UK ‘yet to properly assess’ nuclear plan’s impact on Ireland via The Irish Times

Activists criticise Government’s failure to engage with public over Hinkley Point C

There are “alarming deficiencies” in the UK’s approach to assessing impacts of plans to expand its nuclear power programme on Ireland, according to the Irish Environmental Pillar (EP).

In addition, particular risks associated with the Hinkley Point C power station being built in Somerset have not been properly evaluated, it claims.

The £20 billion Hinkley Point C facility, the first British nuclear power station to be built in 30 years, is less than 250km from Rosslare, Co Wexford. It is one of five new nuclear plants planned for locations on the west coast of the UK facing Ireland.

The shortcomings in the Hinkley project and lack of State input into “a long overdue public consultation process” is highlighted by a submission by the EP – a coalition of major Irish environmental organisations.

[…]

Its submission claims the original environmental impact assessment (EIA) to grant development consent was and remains compromised by the UK’s failure to consult its “transboundary neighbours” in accordance with its international and EU legal obligations.

“The UK should suspend works on Hinkley Point C pending the outcome of this consultation and conduct a full EIA in the best interest of the safety of UK citizens and those in neighbouring countries,” it adds.

It highlights “serious scandals and controversies around the manufacturing techniques and quality assurance processes uncovered in relation to the Le Creusot Forge in France, and problems with the development of the clone reactor in Flamanville III [nuclear power plant, also in France] on which the Hinkley Point C design relies”.

[…]

It says the health impact of normal operational emissions has not been properly assessed.

The submission suggests the UK failed to adequately assess the future impact on Ireland, given serious failures in the consideration of climatological factors, flooding and seismic risks at Hinkley.

It points to a lack of assessment of the potential impact of the disposal of radioactive waste arising from the operation of the plant on its neighbours, notably Ireland, especially as the UK is considering development of underground or undersea storage for radioactive waste, including locations in Northern Ireland and under marine waters.

It also points to a lack of emergency response capacity in Ireland. The HSE recently warned the State had no capacity at present to deal with a nuclear accident.

[…]

The EP was also concerned with complications arising from Brexit, she said, with the UK signalling its intention to withdraw from the Euratom treaty on nuclear material transport, safety and waste.

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