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An example of the international aspect of nuclear developments – Ireland’s complaint to Britain on the Sizewell nuclear risks

Times 4th April 2021, An Irish agency has complained to British authorities that they have not sufficiently assessed the potential implications for Ireland of a severe accident at a planned nuclear facility on the east coast of England, more
than 500km away. 

In a submission to the UK’s Planning Inspectorate last October, the Environmental Protection Agency claimed the “major accidents and disasters assessment” for the Sizewell C project had “a number of limitations, including the fact that no modelling or detailed calculations were undertaken”.

It disputed the inspectorate’s conclusion that the plant, which is due for completion in 2031, was unlikely to have a
significant effect on the environment in any other European country. “The EPA believes that this environmental impact assessment does not sufficiently address the transboundary implications of a severe accident,” it said. “A severe accident at Sizewell C, combined with unfavourable weather which resulted in radioactive contamination in Ireland, could lead to food controls and agricultural protective actions being introduced.”

 It cited a study by the Economic and Social Research nstitute that claimed a nuclear accident anywhere in northwest Europe would cost Ireland about €4 billion, even if there was no contamination here, because of the damage to tourism and export markets. It acknowledged that the normal operation of the plant, which will be located more than
520km from Ireland’s east coast, would have no measurable radiological impact in this country or on the Irish marine environment. 

The joint Oireachtas committee on housing, local government and heritage has also filed an objection to the project, claiming it has concerns about nuclear regulation in Britain after it leaves Euratom, the European nuclear energy treaty, as part of Brexit. “The committee has concerns that once Britain has left Euratom, [its] government will no longer be subject to legal proceedings at the European Court of Justice [ECJ] in the event of failures to comply with nuclear safety regulations,” the committee said.

 “Taking into account the absence of access to the ECJ post-Brexit, the ambiguity of the long-term funding of a new nuclear regulator, and the potential impacts to the Irish public and the Irish economy in the event of an incident, [we]
would like to register an objection to the proposed development.”

Britain consulted Ireland on the Sizewell C project under the Espoo Convention, which requires international consultation on activities that may have an adverse transboundary environmental effect. Tony Lowes of Friends of the
Irish Environment, which campaigned for Ireland to be consulted on Britain’s nuclear plans under Espoo, said: “The question of liability after Brexit has not been answered.”

April 5, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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