Sunday, 13 December 2009

Are People Aware?

Are people aware??

I have been attending a number of very informative lectures in Oldbury, given by eminent specialists in a variety of fields, which have really opened my eyes to the inherent dangers of what Horizon is proposing, to replace Oldbury Nuclear Power Station, both to us as local residents and to the environment.

Having seen Horizon’s exhibition, based on their proposal, the most in your face concern is its size and impact on the local area. It is seven times the current output of the existing Oldbury power station. The land acquired is five times the size of the existing site. Either two French designed reactors, of which examples currently under construction in Europe are beset with problems, or three of an American design, are proposed. Both have major cooling requirements. These will need either three or four cooling towers, each of which will be, 200 metres (700 feet tall) and 150 metres in diameter. That’s 2/3rds the height of the Eiffel Tower. Further more, when they are in use, there will be a steam plume on top making it even more visible!!

This proposal is MASSIVE and will affect everybody in this area. The beauty of the River Severn and the Severn Vale will be blighted by the enormity of this structure which, according to Horizon’s own Scoping Report, will be visible downstream as far as Cleveden, up stream to Bishops Cleve, as well as affecting the whole of Thornbury and anybody on the opposite bank from Chepstow through to Gloucester!

So don’t think “well the existing power station is OK so why not have another one.” The above is just one reason why.

We have also learnt, that a recent German government backed study (known as the KiKK report) has confirmed, that there is a severe risk of leukaemia to pregnant women and young children living near Nuclear Power Stations. These findings were such that the German government have apparently decided they will not build any more nuclear facilities. Notwithstanding Eon, which is a German based company, feels free to come and build in the UK. Apparently a report was subsequently issued by HMG and came up with similar findings. However we were told that they decided to leave out a major site, namely Sellafield, from the statistics!! This must lessen the impact and if that is true then you must draw your own conclusions as to the real truth of the matter.

We have also seen reports that the current financial case for these proposals is totally unfounded. One outcome could be that, in the end if these stations are built, the companies involved will have to ask for a UK Government subsidy. It is suggested that this may only happen when the work is well advanced and the UK will be totally reliant on the work being completed to support our future energy needs.

There are many further issues such as, which independent body in the UK will oversee Nuclear safety in future and how little we are spending on renewables (3rd lowest in Europe after Luxembourg and Malta) despite being No1 for natural resources e.g. we have the longest coastline, highest tides, strongest winds etc etc.

I recognise that we have to have power and that we need an urgent solution but my plea is that everybody should inform themselves on these projects so that a considered judgement can me made and it is not solely based on past experience of the Oldbury site. This proposal is VERY different.

Everybody will have an opportunity to make their voice heard over the coming months, in various forums, and I only hope that many more people will take an active interest in this massive topic and its affect on us and our environment.

Allan Taylor

Oldbury on Severn

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