The British government manipulated its public consultation proceedings on plans for new nuclear power plants to ensure “particular and limited answers,” according to a new report from the Nuclear Consultation Working Group.
Government officials say new nuclear facilities are needed to replace others going offline over the next two decades and are an important part of its effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and combat global warming.
However, the Nuclear Consultation Working Group faults the government for seeking public input on the nuclear plans without addressing key issues such as nuclear fuel supplies, security concerns, nuclear waste handling and the potential for construction delays and cost overruns. The group also says British officials didn’t take into full consideration concerns such as how rising sea levels might affect some proposed nuclear sites.
“We are profoundly concerned that these framing assumptions were designed to provide particular and limited answers — and those answers risk locking in U.K. energy futures to an inflexible and vulnerable pathway that will prove unsustainable,” the report states.
Last February, Greenpeace U.K. took British officials to court over the government’s 2006 Energy Review process. A judge ruled in Greenpeace’s favor, finding the government’s procedures to be “misleading,” “seriously flawed” and “manifestly inadequate and unfair.” The government’s second attempt at an energy review, however, has proved just as problematic, according to Greenpeace U.K.
“(O)nce again it’s been shaped and guided by a predetermined outcome: the UK will have new nuclear power stations,” Greenpeace U.K. stated.
The Nuclear Consultation Working Group includes experts and academics who specialize in nuclear issues, environmental sciences and energy policy.
(Photo of British nuclear power plant taken by Eurico Zimbres, posted on Wikimedia Commons)