Imagine a world where the repressed Chinese people are marching in the streets opposing nuclear power – while the supposedly free British citizens are encouraged by government to meekly submit to yet another nuclear CONsultation aiming to bury hot nuclear wastes in leaky geology. Imagine a world where a repressive regime will take notice of public opinion and scrap plans for a nuclear development while a supposedly democratic government will try to bypass public opinion by dealing only with a few unrepresentative patsys in borough councils.
Sounds mad? It is mad! And it is happening right now..
“OPPOSE nuclear pollution”; “Give us back our green homeland”. So declared banners raised by some of the hundreds of protesters who took to the streets of Jiangmen city in the southern province of Guangdong on July 12th. In a remarkable concession, the local government announced that it would heed their demands and abandon plans to build a uranium-processing facility. For officials in Beijing, keen to develop nuclear power and keep activism in check, the demonstration was an unsettling sign of potential trouble.
When authorities finally lifted the moratorium on approvals in October 2012, it was with the stipulation that going forward only “Generation-III” models that meet stricter safety standards would be approved. China has no experience in operating these more advanced models; several of the Generation-III reactors it has currently under construction are already facing delays due to post-Fukushima design changes or supply chain issues.
CHINA’S state nuclear technology developer is in talks to buy land earmarked for new
atomic reactors in Sellafield, Cumbria.
It is understood that State Nuclear Power Technology Company (SNPTC) will go ahead
only if it receives assurances from Whitehall that it will one day be able to build Chinese-designed nuclear
stations in Britain. The deal was raised in talks last week with Ed Davey, the energy secretary, who is on a 10-day visit to China.
SNPTC is building the first version of its new reactor, the CAP 1400, in China. It is understood the company wants
a government pledge that it will help guide the new design through Britain’s regulatory approval process.
SNPTC is considering joining the Nugen project, which was set up in 2009 by
Iberdrola, the owner of Scottish Power, along with France’s GDF, and SSE, the utility. Nugen bought a large parcel of land
next to the Sellafield toxic waste dump with plans to build up to six reactors. SSE pulled out two years later. Iberdrola
informed GDF last year that it too would no longer proceed.
Toshiba’s Westinghouse has recently entered talks to buy out Iberdrola. SNPTC would likely be a purely financial partner in Nugen.
Wind surpasses nuclear in China
A consultation is said to be ‘skewed’ when it offers a choice between two or three options which are all basically versions of the same thing, rather than offering choices of rejection, or alternate ideas. The ensuing results can only show which of the given options is preferred, rather than showing if people would have preferred not to do any of them, but to do something else instead.
A public consultation should not be addressed as if it were a multiple choice quiz. Participants should feel free to outline their own opinions in the fields provided, and do not have to accept or be limited by the options presented, if these do not accurately represent their views.