Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jo Swinson quizzes Cameron on nuclear plant safety

One of the highlights of yesterday's Prime Minister's Questions was seeing Jo Swinson asking a question that's on all our minds at the moment. I've certainly been shaken to the core as I've watched events unfold at the Fukushima plant in Japan in the wake of the tsunami. It just shows how a natural phenomenon can destabilise a reactor, and of the consequences of loss of power lines - especially how far afield the effects are felt.

Jo asked:
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan as we watch their horror unfold and see warnings today about heightened radiation in Tokyo’s water supply. It is not just earthquakes and tsunamis that can threaten the cooling systems of nuclear reactors, so does the Prime Minister agree that what has happened at Fukushima will have consequences for the new nuclear power stations proposed for the UK?
Cameron replied:
 I am sure that the whole House will want to join the hon. Lady in sending our condolences to people in Japan and to express our admiration for their incredible bravery and resilience in dealing with this immense crisis. Of course we must learn any lessons that need to be learned about nuclear power, which is why the head of the nuclear safety inspectorate is looking at this issue. As I have said before, the power stations we have in Britain are of a different type from those in Japan. We are not planning to build any like those, and we are not in an earthquake zone or a zone subject to tsunamis, but of course we have always got to test against all eventualities. I am sure that there is further testing we can do on nuclear power.
Jo spoke afterwards of her reasons for asking the Prime Minister about this:
“With warnings today about heightened radiation in Tokyo’s water supply, the consequences of Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami serve as a serious reminder of the danger inherent in nuclear power generation.
“Whilst I am pleased that investigations are being carried out into the UK’s nuclear safety, earthquakes and tsunamis are not the only disasters that can threaten the cooling systems of nuclear reactors. The Fukushima disaster highlights the importance of investing in renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency to pave the way for a safe and secure low-carbon future.”
I can't really write a post about Jo at the moment without taking the opportunity to remind you that she's running the London Marathon in 3 weeks' time in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. She wants to raise £100 for every mile, a total of £2620. If you can, please sponsor her here. 


Lee Griffin said...

Except we could use much safer Nuclear than the type used in Japan, as the Chinese are intending to do, and the vague premise that something other than natural disaster (terrorism perhaps?) will be able to have the same effect here is spurious at best.

I know the Lib Dems are against nuclear, generally, but it's really based on very little real danger.

Atlanta Roofing said...

TEPCO is exploring the feasibility of using the central control room of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors as a base for workers to repair and maintain a battery charger room in the facility's basement that provides power to the reactor's control system.

Anonymous said...

"I've certainly been shaken to the core"


Prasad said...

These nuclear power plants are very deleterious so we have to buildup solar power plants and search for other alternatives.

Caron said...

Oh, anonymous, that just serves me right for using cliches without properly thinking about what I'm saying. That honestly wasn't deliberate.Ouch.

Lee, I'm not convinced about the safety of nuclear power - I grew up 20 miles from a reactor and have another 40 miles away and the consequences of something unforseen going wrong aren't worth it.


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