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Secrecy over six month shutdown of nuclear reactor

It’s our flagship nuclear power station and it’s been out of action for the last six months and the local people don’t know and have not been told enough about how or why.

(UK) Consultant speaks out over N-plant ‘secrecy’,  East Anglian Daily Times, By Chris Harris Monday, 4 October, 2010 A NUCLEAR expert who co-founded Greenpeace UK has hit out at “secrecy” surrounding a Suffolk nuclear power station’s six-month closure.

Peter Wilkinson has spoken out following the confirmation by energy bosses that the Sizewell B reactor had begun operating again last Wednesday.

It had been shut down since March after a small leak – later traced to the bottom of a pressuriser – was detected.

Mr Wilkinson, an environmental consultant and nuclear expert based in Peasenhall, who was campaign director for Greenpeace between 1977 and 1986, said: “It’s our flagship nuclear power station and it’s been out of action for the last six months and the local people don’t know and have not been told enough about how or why.

“The explanation of what’s gone wrong and any concerns have been confidential. Trying to find out what is going on, we run up against commercial secrecy all the time.

“I think when you have got an objective of making money you create concerns. I know the regulator is there and it is doing a good job, but the fact is the pressure is on – especially in these uncertain times – to make money.

“The industry has to accept that people are not stupid. I think many people know nuclear power is potentially dangerous.”

EDF Energy, the firm that runs the reactor, has not revealed how much the six-month closure has cost, but Mr Wilkinson estimated it ran to “tens of millions of pounds”.

The Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate granted a licence for the reactor to resume. It said it had “sufficient confidence that the modifications to the pressuriser had been adequately conceived and executed and that the reactor is safe to operate”.

But Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said the directorate should have been much stricter in its assessments.

Consultant speaks out over N-plant ‘secrecy’ – News – East Anglian Daily Times

October 5, 2010 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | , , , ,

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