22 July 2013
Nuclear compensation battle rages on
A compensation deal that will pave the way for a proposed new reactor at Hinkley nuclear power station has continued to rage on.
EDF, a French firm that owns a large proportion of the UK's energy infrastructure, wants to add a new extension to the controversial Somerset plant, but will have to pay the local council for damages in doing so.
A £128 million offer from the corporation has been described by campaigners as a "drop in the ocean" and activists are calling for more to be done in assuring the site is safe for the long-term.
Many residents in the area have been spooked by the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, which was caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, which measured 9.0 on the Richter scale.
However, critics of the campaigners say these kind of accidents could never happen in the UK because of its lack of seismic activity.
But Stop Hinkley spokesperson Theo Simon said: "This deal, which breaks down to only £3 million a year going to local councils for the next 40 years, is no compensation at all."
"If EDF get their way in the current price negotiations with the government, we will all be paying a massive extra nuclear tariff on our electricity bills over the same period and our taxes will be underwriting the whole project by literally billions."
Mr Simon said nobody should criticise local councillors for getting as much money as possible out of the deal as Somerset County has seen cuts of £20 million under the coalition's austerity programme and this was huge in comparison to the amount offered by EDF.
The activist added no amount of "bribery" could make up for a nuclear accident, which would destroy the county's rural economy as well as leaving a legacy for thousands of years.
However, backers of nuclear power point to the rarity of nuclear incidents and highlight the high number of deaths associated with coal mining and extracting other forms of energy.
Posted by Francesca Witney