Energy Minister Denis Naughten: Nothing to fear from new UK nuclear plant

Denis Naughten

Energy Minister Denis Naughten is to keep in contact with Britain over the controversial new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point — but he says expert analysis shows there is nothing to fear from the facility.

British Prime Minister Teresa May announced the €21bn project would proceed on the Somerset coast after a review process sparked by security concerns over the involvement of China in providing a third of the finance required to build the facility.

The plant, Britain’s first for 20 years, will be beside two existing nuclear power plants, in a move criticised by environmentalists.

Here, Mr Naughten’s department said while the Government did not support the use of nuclear power within this state, “where another state chooses to develop a nuclear power industry, this should be done in accordance with the highest international standards with respect to safety and environmental protection”.

It added: “A report in 2012 by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland concluded that the routine operation of the UK’s proposed new generation nuclear power plants, including Hinkley Point, would have no measurable radiological impact on Ireland or the Irish marine environment.

“This finding was backed up by the European Commission’s own assessment of the programme’s possible transboundary impacts. The Department will continue to actively engage with the UK authorities to ensure they are fully aware of any concerns arising in relation to their proposed programme.”

The announcement came just weeks after fears about safety at the Sellafield nuclear plant were raised in a BBC investigation.

Mr Naughten has scheduled a meeting of the UK-Ireland Contact Group on Radiological Matters to discuss the issues raised in London on November 9.


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