ARTICLE IN KESWICK REMINDER 13th March 2015
PANELISTS ISSUE NUCLEAR WARNING TO KESWICK AUDIENCE
A packed public meeting in Keswick on Wednesday evening heard two experts warn of the dangers of building new nuclear reactors in West Cumbria.
Arnie Gundersen and Dr Ian Fairlie were introduced as two internationally-respected authorities on the nuclear industry at the event organised by Radiation Free Lakeland.
They addressed more than 70 people at the Skiddaw Hotel about current plans to build third generation AP1000 reactors at Moorside near Sellafield.
Mr Gundersen is a former nuclear industry executive, engineer and licensed reactor operator. He said the proposed new Moorside reactors had two design flaws and that there had been five international reactor meltdowns in 35 years – at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and three at Fukushima.
Dr Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the atmosphere, said it was immoral to build nuclear power stations as he claimed they were “killing children.” He told the audience: “There have been four-fold increases in leukaemia in children who live within five kilometres of nuclear plants because of radiation leaks – and more than 60 world- wide studies either ignored or covered up by governments.”
He added that in Germany, 440,000 jobs were directly related to renewable energy and a million indirectly, while in the UK, just 6000 worked in renewable energy.
Fellow panellist Ruth Balogh, from West Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, said West Cumbria didn’t have to rely on the nuclear industry for jobs. “Many more could be created in renewable energy industry. Nuclear technologies continue to become more expensive whilst renewable technologies get cheaper,” she said.
Marianne Birkby from Radiation Free Lakeland, added: “The Moorside project is to build the largest nuclear power station in Euorpe close to the largest stockpile of nuclear waste in Europe.”
The meeting was primarily to discuss the Moorside project, rather than the separate plans to create a vast underground nuclear store to house nuclear waste at an unidentified site in West Cumbria.
More than 600 people had attended a public meeting about this in Keswick two years ago, mostly to oppose it.
Former Keswick mayor Cllr martin Pugmire was among the audience on Wednesday. The talk took place in the Skiddaw Hotel after Keswick School had refused to host it because it was organised by an anti-nuclear campaign group. Head teacher Simon Jackson said the school was following its policy which prohibited the hiring out of its facilities for any event which could disturb the “principles of community cohesion” or bring the school into disrepute. He added that man of the school’s families also relied on employment in the nuclear industry.
Mr Jackson said: “In this case it would not be appropriate for the school to appear on either one or other side of what is fundamentally a political argument. We also have to consider our own school community where many of our families rely on employment in the nuclear industry.” he added that the same principle would apply to the “nuclear lobby” if they asked to use the school premises.
Mrs Birkby said: “Keswick School is more than happy for students to take part in days organised by Sellafield, building pretend nuclear reactors, but is not prepared to allow a friendly, informative public talk by eminent scientists on the subject of building real AP1000 reactors in Cumbria.”
The meeting was called We Need To Talk About Moorside. It marked the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.