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UK nuclear safety concerns not yet addressed, say scientists


London : A group of scientists and academics Friday condemned the British government’s plans to force through a new generation of nuclear power stations as undemocratic and possibly illegal.

Questions about the risks from radiation, disposal of nuclear waste and vulnerability to a terrorist attack have not been addressed, the nuclear consultation group warned in a 87-page report.

“We are profoundly concerned that the government’s approach was designed to provide particular and limiting answers,” spokesman for the group Paul Dorfman, referring to the government’s second round of consultations, which ended in November.

Their warning comes as the government is due to publish the results of its consultations, followed by a new energy bill, which is expected to include the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations to help bridge the country’s energy gap.

The consultations were the second carried out by ministers after the High Court in London ruled last February that the first round was “seriously flawed.”

Environmentalist organizations, led by Greenpeace, have already threatened to go back to court warned that the government still appeared to be in breach of the previous ruling.

The nuclear consultation group, made up of 17 energy economists and several of the government’s independent advisers on nuclear waste, condemned the methods used in the second attempt to gather public and expert opinion.

“Significant issues were not consulted on in any meaningful way or resolved in practice. It has left the government vulnerable to legal challenge and may lead to hostility and mistrust of any future energy decision,” their report warned.

Contributors to the independent group include professors at Oxford, Sussex, and Lancaster universities, as well as Rutgers in the US.