Cumbria County Council has taken the pivotal decision to reject the placement of a nuclear spent fuel storage site in the Lake District, an area of outstanding national beauty and importance. In a report prepared in March 2011 by Sir David King, the storage facility would cost about £14 billion and create about 500 jobs in construction and about 300 jobs to operate. Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Secretary, said “there will be a substantial community benefits package, worth hundreds of millions of pounds. That is in addition to the hundreds of jobs and major investment that such a huge infrastructure project could bring.” We congratulate the Council for their courage and sensibility in rejecting a proposal that would only bring more hazardous waste to the region.
Sellafield is already the unfortunate repository of 6,000 tonnes of heavy metal (radioactive materials) being stored in ponds. This storage is estimated to be viable until 2075 when this material will have to be stored again safely in some kind of newly constructed deep geological storage facility – costing billions – all financed by the taxpayer.
Nuclear power produced 19% of our electricity production in 2011. This was the total portion of generation, although 67% of that electricity is lost in transmission and distribution across high voltage wires that traverse the land. The government insists that nuclear power is an important part of our energy mix. One must question the logic of building new nuclear power plants when there are so many alternatives available that do not poison our environment and cost the taxpayer absurd sums of money to maintain. The nuclear power legacy will cost the taxpayer billions to ensure that the toxic waste is safely decommissioned and stored. None of this money contributed to the generation of electricity. The renewables contribution increased 3% in one year. This is attributed to the success of the Feed in Tariff for Solar electricity.
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