'Green' lobby attacks Sizewell consultations

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The Independent Online
ENVIRONMENTAL lobby groups yesterday denounced as a 'charade' the Government's decision to hold consultations over radioactive discharges from the new pounds 2bn Sizewell B nuclear power station nearing completion in Suffolk, writes Tom Wilkie.

When it starts operating, towards the middle of next year, the Sizewell pressurised water reactor will routinely discharge small amounts of radioactivity into the sea and the air. Such discharges have to be authorised both by the Minstry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and by HM Inspectorate of Pollution.

Environmental protection legislation requires that before the Government grants an authorisation it should formally seek the views of local authorities and other 'statutory consultees'.

The Sizewell consultation period begins today and ends on 8 October. But Patrick Green, radiation campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said yesterday: 'They are not going to pull the plug on Sizewell as a result of two months of consultations over the summer. The consultations have to go to the heart of the issue: is there a justification, in terms of some benefit, for the risk that is posed?'

Although the impact of Sizewell will be small in comparison with the controversial nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield, according to Mr Green: 'You have to ask what is the justification, what is the benefit and are there other ways of attaining it?'