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EDF: Questions over flood risk to Heysham reactors

Chris Satori
EDF brings continental fashion to HeyshamOver 60 people from Lancaster District and around the UK held a vigil at Heysham Nuclear Power station last Saturday 8 March to mark the 3rd anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Fukishima and to call on EDF to publicly answer questions relating to safety of the reactors in the face of climate change, and the ongoing problem of nuclear waste storage.

Local architect Mo Kelly took levels to demonstrate how high sea levels may be in 2100 and used a measuring staff to show how high a 5 metre storm surge would be, making reference to the 18 metre storm surges seen on the Dorset coast this winter.

People stood in silence for some minutes after messages were read out, including from Japan, where the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred in 2011. Thousands of people who lived within 20 km of Fukushima have still not been able to return to their homes, and just weeks ago on February 20th, another 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water leaked from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Mo Kelly handed in a letter to the operators of the power station, EDF, asking them to publicly list the specific details of the improved safety measures taken by the power stations since Fukushima.

Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland said, 'There is no long-term solution to nuclear waste though the industry is trying to force through a nuclear dump in Cumbria even though the Nirex Enquiry found it to be geologically unsafe.'

Gisela Renolds of Lancaster District  said, ‘We want the operators of Heysham nuclear power stations to tell us:

1.) How are they preparing for climate change-induced sea level rises and storm surges?
2.) How we can we be sure that flooding will not cause nuclear waste leaks and
3.) How can the nuclear power stations continue producing waste if there are no safe solutions for long-term storage?"

Alan Oulton, station director of Heysham 2 power station told Virtual-Lancaster today: "Heysham 1 has been operating safely since 1983 and Heysham 2 since 1988. As a responsible company we are always looking at ways to improve every aspect of all we do on site and although we have no significant concerns at present and certainly no safety concerns regards our sea defences, all our operations are open to scrutiny from our many independent regulators such as the Environment Agency and the Office for Nuclear Regulation."

A DEFRA report obtained by The Guardian has assessed 12 of Britain's 19 civil nuclear sites are already at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change (Guardian, March 7th, 2012)  Nine of the sites,  including Heysham,  have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as being potentially vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future.

See also:
Heysham Vigil to highlight Government Nuclear Site Flood Risk (Climate Change) Assessment