Motion tabled for Essex-wide consultation on Bradwell Nuclear Power Station

December 15, 2009 5:55 PM
By Cllr David Kendall in Speech to Essex County Council
Cllr David Kendall

County Cllr David Kendall called for an Essex-wide consultation, but the Tories voted it down

I am one of the members of the Council's Economic Development & Environment Policy and Scrutiny Committee who are currently looking at all the options available to Essex residents for our future Renewable Energy needs. One of these options is nuclear power.

It was whilst I was looking at the consultation process for the new Nuclear Power Station at Bradwell that I realised how limited the Government's consultation actually was. The Government says it wants to hear Essex residents' views but it has only set up three exhibition dates and two public discussion events in West Mersea, Maldon and, of course, Bradwell on Sea. But there is nothing at all for the rest of Essex.

Whilst I fully support exhibitions and public meetings for those residents who would be directly effected by the new Nuclear Power Station I also believe residents across Essex should be consulted on this very important issue because it could have an impact on us all. Some of you may say what is the point of consulting on a Nuclear Power Station at Bradwell in places like Brentwood and Saffron Walden when they are many miles away, but taking that view would be ignoring some of the key issues that need to be addressed with nuclear power.

Some people are concerned about the vulnerability of Nuclear Power Stations to a terrorist attack. Others are concerned about the difficulty and expense of nuclear waste disposal.

Local authorities are now directly responsible for all nuclear emergency planning beyond the stations perimeter fences. Our residents have a right to know that robust and workable emergency plans are in place. A proper consultation would help to answer some of those concerns.

If there was a terrorist attack at a Bradwell Nuclear Power Station it could have a catastrophic effect on many of our residents living miles from the site. A new study by Independent Nuclear consultants Large & Associates has revealed that a plume of highly dangerous radiation from an incident at a reactor has the potential of affecting thousands of people in a 36 mile radius in just seven hours.

Some of you will say it can never happen here but we only have to look around the world at places like Chernobyl to realise that nuclear accidents do happen and when they do they can have a devastating impact on the population for miles around.

Some people are also concerned about trains travelling through Essex carrying Nuclear waste. In June 2002 there was an accident at Ashford in Kent between a train carrying nuclear flasks and a lorry at a crossing. Fortunately on that occasion the flasks were empty but if they had been full it could have been a major disaster.

These issues and many others need to be properly addressed and the best way is through consultation.

This consultation should be organised by the Government and should consist of exhibitions and public meetings at key towns across the County along with an advertising campaign promoting the consultation website. This action will ensure that there is much greater awareness of what is happening in the County on Nuclear Power and will ensure that all our residents voices are heard on this very important issue.

Whatever your views are on nuclear power, I hope that members across the Chamber will give this motion their full support.

Note: The Conservatives running Essex County Council did not support this motion and it fell.