The Celtic League has urged the Irish government to press for an international safety audit of the decision to extend the operational life of the Wylfa nuclear plant. The League say that prior to the 2010 decision to allow continued operation the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency had repeatedly stated they had no wish to tackle the difficulties associated with extending its life.
The League has already asked the UK government if safety has been sacrificed for economic and energy needs.
Text of letter to An Taoiseach below:
Office of the Taoiseach
I wrote to your predecessor Mr Cowen last year concerning the decision of the UK government to extend the operational life of the Wylfa nuclear plant and received a response in March 2011 (ref. correspondence Private Secretary Taoiseach – 7 March 2011).
I note the comment in Mr Cowen’s letter (paragraph 3) about the `extremely low’ radiation doses released by the normal operation of the plant. However our concerns were not predicated on the normal release levels of radiation monitored by the RPII but rather the propensity for accidents in continuing to operate a plant which has known safety problems past its projected closure date.
The United Kingdom Government with whom we raised the issue expressed a similarly relaxed stance on the service life extension of the plant. However we know from correspondence with the Isle of Man government, who like your own government have an ongoing liaison on nuclear matters with the UK, that prior to
“the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the owners of the power station, repeatedly stated that they had no wish to tackle the considerable difficulties associated with extending Wylfa’s operating life beyond 2010.”
In light of the renewed focus on nuclear issues following events in Japan I have once again written to the UK DECC (copy enclosed) and asked them directly if in consideration of extending Wylfa’s operational life safety standards were not compromised.
It is becoming clearer that the major disaster at Fukushima was caused not only by natural events but by a sequence of failures of systems designed to cope with major incidents within nuclear plants.
It should be borne in mind that over fifteen years ago there was a significant incident at Wylfa when the grab section of a crane fell into the reactor. The operator was eventually heavily fined for safety breaches. The plant also has well-documented problems including deterioration of the graphite core and corrosion of steel reactor components. It has been subject to protracted closure and on occasion unscheduled shutdowns.
I trust the Irish government will revisit this issue and ensure that the United Kingdom are pressed to have the `revalidation process’ carried out in 2010, which allowed continued operations, subjected to independent international scrutiny by a reputable nuclear safety body such as the IAEA.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”
Related article on Celtic News:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information