Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Nuclear power plant hazards dangerously played down by MPs

Your report the Welsh Affairs Select Committee chairman David Davies MP as saying :“ During this inquiry we have been impressed by the level of scrutiny of nuclear power and are reassured that the highest safety standards are followed” (“Nuclear power projects must be proven as financially viable, Welsh MPs warn,” 26 July; http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/nuclear-power-projects-must-proven-11662605
This observation, following publication of the report on the Future of Nuclear Power in Wales,  www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwelaf/129/12902.htm) demonstrates worrying level of ignorance and bad judgement.
The Committee was told in an  oral evidence session on 7 March 2016, by John Warden, Chief Executive Officer of the  Nuclear Institute ( which describes itself as “the UK membership organisation for Nuclear Professionals. We maintain the standards of professionalism in the nuclear sector”) the following:
“I am very comfortable with the risks [from nuclear power] and I understand it. However, I do realise that most of the public do not, and that is one aspect that the Nuclear Institute has a remit to try to educate the public. I am very comfortable. You can look at the four biggest accidents in nuclear history. You have Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. The only positive risk to health that came from any of those was from Chernobyl.”
I was so shocked at this statement- which is demonstrably and extremely inaccurate- but was not challenged by WA committee members during the hearing, that  isubmitted short corrective evidence to the committee, inviting  the committee to take these facts into account when drawing up its report on evidence received.
An additional disaster not mentioned was the 1957 Kyshtym disaster in Russia, details of which can be found at this link. One study claimed that 8,000 people died over 30 years as a result of the disaster. I also provide a link to information about the  1957 Windscale fire that shows there were significant long-term health effects.
I have also provided these links about Three Mile Island that show there were health effects relating to that disaster in the US in 1979
I have also provided this link on the Chernobyl disaster, which suggests health-related effects were greater than previously thought, and these links on the Fukushima disaster, which suggest that many more people died from the nuclear disaster than previously believed.
I also provide this link, which provides a list of nuclear accidents, with their death tolls.
Personally as a professional researcher in this field, born and educated in Neath, I found it very disappointing witness representing body that tells interested parties on its web site “Of most importance to us is the education and training of nuclear professionals, as well as the understanding of the nuclear industry from the wider public. As a learned society we also act as the independent voice of the industry.” (http://www.nuclearinst.com/About-Us) could come before the committee and make such inaccurate statements and present them as if fact.

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