‘True cost of nuclear must not be underestimated’ – Ritchie

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Friday, July 6th, 2012
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie MP has said that the British Government must learn from the mistakes made in the past when it comes to our future nuclear programme. Speaking on an adjournment debate which she secured at Westminster on the issue, Ms Ritchie said: “I find it staggering to witness the inability of government to learn from mistakes made in the past. I can remember the 2008 Public Accounts Committee report drawing attention to the vastly underestimated cost of nuclear power, a report which also highlighted the nuclear industry’s tendency to lumber the taxpayer with an ever-increasing and seemingly endless bill.” “People in my own constituency of South Down and throughout Northern Ireland have had to live on the doorstep of the Sellafield plant for over 30 years and continue to foot the bill for its disastrous decommissioning process. Indeed the fallacy of committing billions more pounds of public expenditure to nuclear energy has never been more apparent than it is now.” Ritchie insists that only is there a huge economic cost involved in the government’s nuclear programme, but also a ‘huge public safety issue’. “The disaster in Fukushima shows that nuclear power can never be made 100 per cent safe and the resulting withdrawal of Germany from the nuclear energy market, combined with several energy companies pulling out of the UK market, demonstrates a clear lack of confidence in the industry’s sustainability. With nuclear we are not just left with a public health time-bomb, we are always left to carry the financial burden.” Ritchie added, “It is often said the government should not ‘pick winners’ in the energy market but it seems that, in the case of nuclear, they are intent in picking a loser. I do not want to see us left with a nuclear legacy that is radioactive and that we will be subsidizing for years to come.”
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