PLANS to build a new generation of nuclear power stations along the Cumbrian coast would lead to an increase in the amount of radioactive waste carried on trains through South Lakeland.
That is the view of Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who is calling for a consultation on the Government’s nuclear power proposals, announced on Monday.
Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary, has told MPs that ten new plants will be built, supplying up to a quarter of the Britain’s power needs.
Three of these – Kirksanton, Braystones and Sellafield – are planned for west Cumbria, while a further site is Heysham in North Lancashire.
The announcement follows a radical shake-up in planning laws, which strip local authorities of the right to veto new nuclear plants and other key projects.
Decisions will instead be taken by the Infrast-ructure Planning Commission, created to cut the period required to secure consent for energy proj-ects from ten years to one year.
The aim is for the new reactors to be fully operational by 2025.
Mr Farron described the announcement as premature. Thirty per cent of the total output from the ten power stations would be generated in our neck of the woods. This should not happen without proper consultation.
“Those living near the plants will no doubt welcome them because they provide jobs, but people in the rest of Cumbria should be asked for their views.
“The people deserve a say, especially when you consider the amount of nuclear waste that would be transported by train through the district. We need to be properly consulted.”
Marianne Birkby of anti-nuclear group Radiation Free Lakeland said: “West Cumbria is already home to the most ferociously radioactive wastes on the planet which need cooling with four million gallons of fresh water every day. “To think about putting much more dangerous reactors any-where, especially in the vicinity of the world’s most dangerous radioactive wastes, is diabolical.”
The Government says each plant would provide enough electricity to power a city like Manchester for 60 years.
The first of the new plants should be working by 2018.