In the Morning Star today…..
Hush money? The nuclear industry is in a league of its own
PROPOSED bribes for communities near fracking sites are “small fry” compared to the hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash used to buy off those affected by the nuclear power industry, campaigners said yesterday.
Cumbria in north-west England “is in the grip of a far-reaching nuclear bribery scandal,” according to Radiation Free Lakeland, with taxpayers’ cash for public projects filtered through the privately owned nuclear power industry.
Campaigner Marianne Birkby said: “Compared to the nuclear industry, the frackers are in the third division where bribery is concerned, as we know all too well in Cumbria.
“The nuclear industry leads the super league — and has been buying the people of Cumbria and our representatives for two decades now.”
She said that £10 million of taxpayers’ cash was paid recently to local authorities when the nuclear industry wanted planning permission relating to storage of low-level nuclear waste at Drigg, near Sellafield.
“This nuclear largesse was paid by the much-lamented Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which saw most of its budget going to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA),” said Ms Birkby. “So we are all paying for the privilege of having nuclear waste dumped on our doorstep into eternity.”
The DECC, set up by Gordon Brown in 2008, was disbanded by Prime Minister Theresa May last month and merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to form the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
In 2012-13 it spent 69 per cent of its budget on managing Britain’s historic nuclear sites via the NDA.
Ms Birkby said a social fund operated by the NDA “has turned to a slush fund, unfairly influencing communities on whether or not they should accept nuclear waste and new nuclear reactors in their midst.
“The evidence suggests that the slush fund is working its magic.
“Tens of millions of pounds have been given to hospitals, colleges and wildlife and heritage groups. Money has gone to lifeboat appeals, footpaths and a harbour-wall scheme.
“All of these and many more have received money that should have come direct from the public purse — but instead has been filtered through the prism of the nuclear industry.”
Residents Action on Fylde Fracking chairman Ian Roberts said: “The battle against nuclear energy is significantly more difficult than the battle against fracking because that industry is well and truly embedded and has local support whereas the fracking industry is being held at bay while opposition grows significantly.”
More on the Nuclear Slush Fund –Written by Pete Roche using information from FOI request in 2008 made by Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland (then of South Lakeland Friends of the Earth)