The revelations on Monday's edition of Panorama of safety breaches at the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria will not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the murky history of nuclear power in Britain over the last 6 decades. A whistleblower revealed to the programme that staffing levels at the plant are dangerously low and pose serious safety risks, while even more worrying it was revealed that hazardous radioactive materials at the plant were being stored in degradeable plastic bottles.
The latter revelation is absolutely astonishing given some radioactive waste can remain poisonous for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. It is not for nothing radioactive waste is often stored miles underground or on the seabed. But even these measures have not been enough to prevent clusters of leukemia in the vicinity of nuclear power stations. The radiation expert Chris Busby has compiled a wealth of research revealing the incidence of such clusters among children around Trawsfynydd in North Wales and across the Irish sea in the Irish republic from radioactive pollution from Sellafield in Cumbria
With the development of renewables as an increasingly viable source of energy the UK should join the growing trend across the world of moving away from nuclear power and invest in renewables. Germany has phased out nuclear power completely and the US has not built a new nuclear power stations in decades. As for doubts about the reliability of renewable energy well it's worth noting that Denmark now produces all its energy from renewables while last year more of Scotland's energy came from renewables than all other sources put together. Let's face it you cant get anything more reliable than the tides.
Not only is nuclear power prohibitively expensive but it can never be made completely safe. Another good reason to oppose nuclear of course is the fact that plutonium is extracted during the production process for use in nuclear warheads. In the long run renewable sources are simply safer and cheaper - and they cant be used to help create weapons of mass destruction. The UK government should ditch the proposed new nuclear reactor at Hinckley point, and abandon similar plans for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey. In the case of Wylfa it should really be the Welsh Assembly that is making that decision but sad to report that despite 20 years of devolution the Welsh government still has no say on important matters like nuclear power in Wales.
For those who missed the Panorama show it can be seen here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07v80s4
Links to groups campaignimg against Hinckley Point and Wylfa B