Friday, December 19, 2008

Health test for new nuclear power stations

A government consultation ending in March is asking whether we regard four designs put forward for new nuclear power stations in the UK meet health criteria, when balanced against their alleged benefits.

The criteria include the health detriment, defined as an estimate of the risk of reduction in length and quality of life occurring in a population following exposure to ionising radiations.

The Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has put forward the proposals, which are being examined as stage one of a legal process on the road to the potential construction of a new generation of nuclear power stations.

They are being tested under the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004, a piece of EU legislation transposed into UK law.

These stipulate that before any new type of practice involving ionising radiation can be introduced in the UK, it must first undergo a high-level, generic assessment to determine whether its overall benefit outweighs any associated health detriment.

The Minister for Energy and Climate Change Mike O'Brien will decide the result of the consultation, which ends in March. It will be followed by a further consultation between September and December 2009 on his draft decision.

The Low Carbon Kid says no health detriment is acceptable. And what about the health of future generations, and those in the nuclear fuel and decommissioning life cycle? But we're not allowed to comment on that, so narrow are the terms of this consultation.

> Consultation on whether new nuclear power stations in the UK meet health criteria

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