Anti-nuclear campaigners have welcomed a move by a Liberal Democrat councillor to commit the city to oppose the building of new atomic power stations near Bristol.
Cllr Mark Wright has put forward a motion for the full council meeting on January 19 calling on any consultation for the new plants at Hinkley Point and Oldbury to include people within Bristol.
The councillor for Cabot ward said nuclear power was “hopelessly uneconomic” and could cripple the city’s growing green energy industries.
He added that problems arising from nuclear power would have a direct impact on the city – with Oldbury in South Gloucestershire lying just eight miles from Bristol.
“Nuclear power is hopelessly uneconomic once you factor in all the costs of decommissioning and radioactive waste disposal,” he said. “No nuclear power plant has ever been built without considerable public subsidy and guarantee – without those, no company will touch it.
“If we are going to subside energy then we should develop the vast renewable resources we have here in the South West instead.
“Diverting our cash and attention to nuclear power will very likely cripple the fledgling renewable power industry. There will be no point in companies investing in developing technologies when multinationals are flooding the energy market with tax-payer subsidised power.
“Then there is the overlap between the technologies of nuclear weapons and nuclear-fission power, which allows countries to hide weapons programs inside civil power programs; the fact that nuclear power stations will arrive too late to fill a possible energy gap; the remaining uncertainties on health and safety issues; the lack of an agreed solution to nuclear waste – the list of problems goes on!”
As reported by Bristol24-7 last month, Oldbury and Hinkley Point in Somerset have named by the government as possible sites for new nuclear power stations, as energy and climate secretary Ed Miliband announced a huge increase in atomic power generation for the UK.
Oldbury, in South Gloucestershire, and Hinkley Point, in Somerset, are two of ten new power stations planned across the country.
Mr Miliband told MPs that “the threat of climate change means we need to make a transition from a system that relies heavily on high-carbon fossil fuels to a radically different system that includes nuclear, renewable and clean-coal power”.
But Cllr Wright’s move was welcomed by Alan Pinder of Friends of the Earth, who said: “This is really good news.
There is growing anger about the nuclear proposals and the narrowness of the consultations. It is as if they were trying to keep it secret.
“There should have been exhibitions in Bristol about the proposals. These power stations will affect Bristol, so the City Council and people of Bristol should be closely involved at every stage.”
Jim Duffy, Coordinator of Stop Hinkley, said: “People from Bristol were very involved in the previous Hinkley C inquiry in 1988-89. It will be an important message if the City Council votes to oppose the new development.
“Being downwind from Hinkley and so close to Oldbury, Bristolians should not be excluded from deciding on something that could profoundly affect them.”
Reg Illingworth of Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy, a local group concerned at the development of a new nuclear power plant at Oldbury added: “This motion leads the way for Bristol to be a truly green city showing concern for the earth and its inhabitants.”