Thursday, 1 September 2016

Security concerns overlooked in Wylfa Newydd new nuclear plant consultation proposals

Letter sent to the Western Mail on 1st September:
 

On 31 August the Japanese (Hitachi) owned Horizon Nuclear published a mammoth 684 page public consultation document

on its proposals to build a new nuclear power plant, Wylfa Newydd, on Anglesey.

 

As the primary reason for the halt in the go ahead for the Hinkley C nuclear plant on Somerset’s north coast, just across the

Bristol Channel from Cardiff, Newport, and Swansea is unresolved security matters, I looked at Horizon’s consultation document to see

what it says about security at Wylfa Newydd.

 

The answer is worryingly little; and what it does say is so general as to be worthless.

 

The Summary document mentions under the headingsupporting facilities, buildings, structures and features: “the parts of the

Power Station necessary to support the operation and maintenance of the Power Station, including offices and security

Facilities.” Later it adds:” welfare/security building and kiosks will be located in the Logistics Centre,” explaining security

features include: paladin fencing with controlled access barriers, security systems and other management requirements.

 

In the main report it says: “We will prioritise the safety, security and well-being of the public, our employees, the environment

and our stakeholders.”(para.2.16). It adds: “There would be both an inner and an outer security fence. The fences would meet the

Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure standards and would require approval from the Office for Nuclear Regulation

(ONR) . Each fence would comprise a double fence structure with clear zones between them. The operational site would also require permanent perimeter lighting and it is assumed the fences would be monitored by alarm systems and CCTV.( paras 4.33 & 4).

 

Later is says: “ The Generic Design Assessment (GDA)  allows the nuclear regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental

implications of new reactor designs separately from applications to build them at specific sites.”(para 4.81)

And that’s about it.

On 13 July, in a coruscating critique of the ballooning costs and unreliability of UK nuclear power, the British national financial watchdog, the National Audit Office issued report Nuclear power in the UK, (HC 511 SESSION 2016-17), in which it include the following observation in a section headed The challenges of nuclear power at para 2.11 “There are specific challenges in ensuring that nuclear power is on an equal footing in the market with other low-carbon technologies:  Nuclear power plants have very high upfront costs and take a long time to build. Costs have increased in recent years given the extra safety considerations following the Fukushima disaster and increasing terrorist threats. ( https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Nuclear-power-in-the-UK.pdf)

 

 

A week earlier, on 7 July,  the official British nuclear safety and security regulator, The Office for Nuclear Regulation, published its  annual progress report. In a section headed  Civil Nuclear Security (pages 37-38) it revealed : “Overall, the civil nuclear sector met its security obligations. There are areas where the dutyholder’s security arrangements  did not fully meet regulatory expectations. (emphasis added) (http://www.onr.org.uk/documents/2016/annual-report-2015-16.pdf)

ONR has declined to elaborate what the problem is, on security grounds.

 

In Europe too, the nuclear terrorist spectre has been recently raised  by Europol, the EU’s  Dutch-based  counter- terror agency. In its annual report issued on 20 July it revealed under the chapter headed Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) substances: Nuclear power plants and nuclear weapon facilities in the EU also remain potential targets for terrorists.”


 

With the latest series of serious European terrorist attacks in France and Germany, Mrs May is surely being prudent in reviewing the various and growing security risks posed by new nuclear  plants.

 

Horizon asserts “we are seeking views on our proposals …reducing the negative effects of the Project.”    

The best and most obvious way Is not to build it.

 

Meanwhile, Horizon incredibly asserts the public in Wales can have “no scope for influence” on the following issues in their

public consultation: use of UK ABWR reactor technology; locating the Power Station at the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station Site;

and the need for Off-Site Power Station Facilities.”

the types of Associated Development needed to support the Power Station.

         

Citizens in Wales should protest loud and long about these exclusions!

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