Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's MEP, has written to 15 local authorities asking what plans they have in place to deal with an emergency nuclear incident at Hinkley. The challenge comes as revelations emerge that Chernobyl was one of the victims of yesterday’s massive cyber-attack affecting businesses and organisations across the Ukraine, Russia and parts of Europe.
A Hinkley Nuclear Emergency Plan [pdf download] has been drawn up by Somerset County Council, identifying which public authorities will be informed should there be a nuclear safety breach at Hinkley Point. The list includes 15 local authorities within a 40km radius of Hinkley Point, stretching from South Wales to Mid-Devon. It includes Bristol’s neighbouring local authorities of North Somerset District Council and Bath & North East Somerset District Council, but excludes Bristol city itself, the largest population centre in the South West. Dr Scott Cato has written to the 15 local authorities, and Bristol City Council, asking them to reveal their own plans in the event of a nuclear incident. Molly said:
“Yesterday I spoke at a conference drawing attention to the ongoing financial and human costs of the Chernobyl disaster. Sadly, we cannot assume that nuclear incidents are a thing of the past associated only with decrepit reactors in a by-gone Soviet bloc. The tragedy of Fukushima just five years ago shows we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. And now we learn that nuclear power plant operating and monitoring systems are not immune from cyberattack. I want the public to feel reassured that their local authorities have emergency plans in place in the event of a nuclear incident at Hinkley.”
Echoing Molly Scott Cato’s concerns, Bristol Green Group leader Councillor Eleanor Combley said:
“I am shocked to hear that residents of Bristol could potentially be left in the dark in the event of an incident at Hinkley. Bristolians have a right to know about any incident which could have such a huge impact on their health and wellbeing. I am deeply concerned and have called on the Mayor to ensure Bristol is included in this emergency plan and do what he can to guarantee the safety of residents.”
A recent report from the National Audit Office that concluded Hinkley C was ‘risky and expensive’ and news of possible further delays and cost over-runs to the project demonstrate the on-going controversies around giving the new nuclear power station the go-ahead. Molly went on to say:
“Of course the greatest security that could be offered to the people of the South West would be to scrap Hinkley altogether and end the folly of nuclear power. As well as the health and safety risks, nuclear no longer has any economic legitimacy. Indeed, Hinkley has always been economically illiterate.
“Well before Hinkley delivers a single watt of electricity, we could, given the political will, have developed our abundant renewable energy resources to deliver more power, more cheaply than Hinkley ever will. And in the process create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”