In his letter (22 December), Tom Smith describes the problems of storing the radioactive waste that is being produced by the UK nuclear reactors, and says that we need more honesty about these issues. The latter is also true of other problems with “new nuclear build”. Take, for example, the proposed Sizewell C reactor on the east coast.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that extreme “sea level events” could occur “at least once per year at many locations by 2050”. Sizewell C will be built near the sea on marshland. One engineer has estimated that the land where the reactor would be built will turn into a promontory encircled by the sea. Clearly the reactor site could be flooded.
Then there is the problem of obtaining uranium, which is currently the fuel for the nuclear reactors. The UK has to import uranium from across the world. It is mainly mined on the land of Indigenous people – in the US, in Canada, in Australia and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The miners and their families have suffered years of ill health and even death from proximity to uranium. At the same time, having to import uranium means that this is not an independent source of energy for the UK.
The government and the opposition have completely ignored all warnings; they go doggedly on, supporting the construction of the new nuclear reactor at Sizewell and considering plans to build others. But nuclear is not the answer to the UK’s energy requirements. Apart from anything else, it is vastly expensive. The money it swallows should be put into developing genuine sustainable energy: tidal, wind and solar.
Littleborough, Greater Manchester