Re your report (Nuclear storage plans for north of England stir up local opposition, 23 August), it is no surprise that ongoing discussions to choose locations for the dumping of nuclear waste are cloaked in secrecy.
Over the last decade, the nuclear power industry has successfully rebranded an appallingly toxic energy industry as “zero carbon” and even “clean” (Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019, 1 January 2020) by never mentioning the terrible legacy of nuclear waste. Nuclear energy is neither clean nor zero-carbon when you consider its complete fuel cycle, from uranium mining overseas to the energy-intensive production of fuel rods to the management of highly toxic radioactive waste products such as plutonium.
The nuclear lobby has done a very effective PR job in diverting attention away from everything other than the electricity feed into the National Grid. It knows that there is no safe long-term solution for storing nuclear waste – how could you guarantee safety from the most dangerous chemical element on the planet for 24,000 years (the half-life of one of the plutonium isotopes typically present in nuclear waste)? The last thing this industry wants is an open discussion. It would reopen the debate on nuclear waste that it has, up to now, successfully buried in millions of pounds’ worth of rebranding. Hence the secrecy.
Ann Denise Lanes
• Have an opinion on anything you’ve read in the Guardian today? Please email us your letter and it will be considered for publication.
• This letter was amended on 30 August 2021 to clarify that 24,000 years is the half-life of one plutonium isotope typically present in nuclear waste, not “the half-life of plutonium”, as a previous version said.