The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament strongly criticised the Government’s imminent announcement of a ‘national policy statement’ on nuclear power together with a list of potential sites. CND described as “totally unacceptable” Ed Miliband’s characterisation of the safety record of the industry as being “relatively good”, pointing to the widespread consequences of any major accident. Campaigners are greatly concerned that the new planning process will push through decisions with little reference to local communities or design-specific safety concerns.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous and expensive. It is not the answer to climate change or concerns over energy security. Steamrollering planning decisions through an unelected and unaccountable quango is no way for a democracy to make such significant national decisions. Local concerns look set to be marginalised, with the ability for local communities to question important safety aspects of reactors swept away. It is totally unacceptable for Ed Miliband to see a ‘relatively good’ safety record as sufficient – nuclear disasters have the potential to make any other kind of industrial accident look harmless in comparison, potentially affecting millions of people.”

“Nuclear build on the scale envisaged is a drop in the ocean compared to the climate change measures needed. The Government’s own advisers say that even with a doubling of nuclear capacity carbon emissions would only drop by 8% – that’s compared with the 60% target set by Government.  As uranium fuel becomes scarcer more energy is put into extracting it, so by 2050 nuclear is expected to generate as much CO2 per kilowatt as a gas-fired power station.  Investing in nuclear will divert skills and resources away from areas that can have a much more significant impact on cutting carbon emissions, such as large-scale renewable, distributed power generation and carbon capture and storage technologies.

She continued “This decision is incredibly short sighted. In the 50 years Britain has been experimenting with nuclear power successive governments have yet to come up with a long-term strategy for coping with the waste that will remain hazardous for millennia. To build-up our stockpile of material that we have no safe way to store is madness, especially as any underground dump would take decades to prepare.”

“Embarking on the creation of a new generation of nuclear plants also sends the wrong message internationally, where building a nuclear reactor is a necessary step in the creation of a nuclear weapon. If we want any credibility in discouraging the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we cannot discourage others from building reactors whilst we construct many more of our own.”

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For further information and interviews please contact  Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.