May 2008

the irish independent writes

THE massive nuclear complex at Sellafield is “in crisis” and holds the world’s biggest stockpile of spent nuclear fuel which has the potential to be “more dangerous” than the Chernobyl reactor, a new report claims.

And the UK is unlikely to meet its international commitments to reduce radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea because the plant is not working properly.

The report — “Voodoo Economics and the Doomed Nuclear Renaissance” commissioned by Friends of the Earth — says the deadline for closing the reprocessing facility has been abandoned and the plant will remain open until 2015.


the report “Voodoo Economics and the Doomed Nuclear Renaissance” is here in pdf


This Friends of the Earth research paper by Paul Brown, former environment correspondent of the Guardian, exposes how badly the nuclear industry has performed over its entire 50 years of unfulfilled promises, and the already escalating bill to the taxpayer. It takes its name “Voodoo Economics” from the term coined by George Bush Snr to describe Ronald Reagan’s economic policy because it promised to lower taxes and increase revenues at the same time. This term has subsequently been used to refer to the use of economics based on contradictory ideas and gobbledegook/hocus pocus.

The economics of new nuclear power stations for the UK do not add up. It is not possible to achieve what the Government says it will do – build a new generation of nuclear stations in England without public subsidy.

New build will not be possible without large sums of taxpayers’ money being pledged, and extending the unlimited guarantees to underwrite all the debts of the existing and future nuclear industry.

Rob Edwards writes in the guardian

Rising to four floors at the sprawling Sellafield complex on the Cumbrian coast, it is probably one of the biggest technical and economic disasters in the history of the British nuclear industry. For an industry with more than its fair share of mishaps, that is saying something.

The plant was originally meant to process 120 tonnes of MOX fuel a year, but it has yet to manage even three tonnes a year. As the Guardian reported in February, a grand total of only 5.2 tonnes have been produced in the six-year commissioning phase from 2001 to 2007.