The Irish government has responded to concerns articulated by the Celtic League about plans to extend the operational life of the Wylfa nuclear plant.
The reply from the Office of the Taoiseach seems somewhat laid-back about possible safety implications implicit in the service life extension of the plant and refers to a (now somewhat dated) report on the plant by the RPII in 2007.
The Taoiseach refers to `radiation doses’ from the plant being `extremely low’ and posing `no threat to Irish people’ yet the implicit danger of accidents at nuclear plants has never been more in focus than at present and there is no
doubt that Wylfa is an elderly plant with a somewhat chequered safety record.
The Office of the Taoiseach apologise for the delay in responding on this issue however this is understandable given the recent turmoil in Ireland over economic issues and the General Election.
“Oifig an Taoisigh
Office of the Taoiseach
7th March, 2011
Mr J B Moffatt
11 Cleiy Rhennee
Isle of Man
Dear Mr Moffatt,
The Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen TD, has asked me to refer to your letter concerning Wylfa Nuclear Power Plant in the UK and to apologise for the delay in replying to you.
Ireland has long been mindful of potential risks to this country posed by the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom. In light of this, the Government of Ireland, both through bilateral engagement with the UK Government, and internationally, works to emphasise the importance of giving the highest priority to safety and environmental protection in all aspects of the nuclear industry.
The Taoiseach notes your comments regarding the safety record at Wylfa. The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) is the Statutory Agency with responsibility for advising the Government on matters of nuclear safety, including the safety of nuclear installations abroad. In its 2007 report on Wylfa, which you reference and which followed a visit by Members of the Institute to the plant, the Institute reports that radiation doses arising from operations at the plant are extremely low and pose no threat to the Irish people.
You may also be interested to know that the Governments of Ireland and the UK engage regularly on matters of nuclear safety and radiological protection. Officials from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, along with the RPII, meet periodically with UK Government officials and regulators to discuss matters of concern to Ireland in relation to the development of UK nuclear policy. In the course of these contacts, the Government is made aware of key policy developments and has an opportunity to raise any issues of concern.
This engagement is valuable, both in providing a constructive means for raising any concerns and in enhancing our ability to assess the full nature of risks posed to Ireland, however remote.
I hope that this answers your queries concerning the Irish Government’s and the Wylfa Nuclear Power Plant in the UK.
Private Secretary to the Taoiseach”
Related link on Celtic News here:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information