Action needed over nuclear safety fears

July 5, 2006 10:13 AM

David Howarth, Lib Dem Energy Spokesperson, has demanded an urgent explanation from the Department of Trade and Industry about the safety of Britain's nuclear power stations following serious concerns by Government Inspectors about the ageing reactors.

Mr. Howarth has questioned the Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, over what safety assessment he has made of these nuclear reactors and whether the cracks in the reactors' cores will have any implications for Government energy policy.

Mr. Howarth commented:

"It is very worrying that British Energy has known about cracks in the cores of nuclear reactors but has not taken any action.

"The evidence is mounting that the Government is taking a gamble by pushing for a new generation of nuclear power plants and I will be pressing the Government to reconsider their position on energy. Over-reliance on large centralised, and risky, nuclear plants could mean serious threats to our electricity supplies if one or more reactor is shut down due to these sort of safety concerns.""

The Nuclear Safety Directorate has issued safety warnings over the development of major cracks in reactor cores at Hinkley Point B in Somerset, Hartlepoole in Cleveland, Hunterston B in Ayreshire and Heysham 1 in Lancashire. The documents were released by Greenpeace today as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

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