Friday, February 05, 2010

Will radioactive waste be sent to the new South London incinerator?

Following revelations such as this:

Croydon Green Party sent this press release out to the papers.

Press release: immediate

Research undertaken by Croydon Green Party shows that radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear reactors may well be incinerated at the new South London Waste Site.

Croydon Green party spokesperson Shasha Khan said:

“The results from the second consultation show that there is little appetite for an incinerator. Yet unbelievably, Croydon Council seems determined to press ahead. People are quite rightly asking why this is. The answer may well be the results of the little known first consultation that only had 41 respondents to the full questionnaire. (1)”

Figures unearthed by the Green Party appear to suggest that the first waste plan consultation was kept low key and the result was that waste companies had a higher number of submissions and thus undue influence on its outcome.

Waste companies, Biffa, Viridor, Cappagh Group, Sterecycle and Rolfe Judd all submitted responses to the public consultation (2).

As a result, waste companies managed to achieve their desired outcome - a procurement contract that includes hazardous waste; but worryingly, radioactive waste from nuclear reactors comes under the umbrella of hazardous waste (3).

Commenting on this, Shasha Khan continued:

“This latest revelation suggests to me that this consultation is designed to conclude with an incinerator which operates with as many different waste streams as possible. The South London Waste Partnership, which includes Croydon Council, is not genuinely consulting Croydon; rather it is navigating us all towards a pre-determined outcome under the guise of a public consultation.

“The first consultation was poorly publicised and our findings indicate that this may well have been deliberate. Because there were only 41 respondents to the full questionnaire (1), the opportunity was there to achieve outcomes that favoured waste contractors, including those that incinerate radioactive waste.

Local Green Party member and expert on nuclear power Jim Duffy (4) said, “The nuclear industry has been lobbying for lower standards of protection to apply to low level radioactive waste, principally driven by the huge amount of waste arising now, and in the future, from decommissioning old reactors. Some materials, for example concrete, will go to landfill, but some for incineration, for example graphite from the reactor cores, oil and protective clothing.

Shasha Khan continued:

“In the first consultation there were a series of questions about what should and shouldn’t be handled by the waste site, including hazardous waste. We have yet to find a single resident who wants this new plant to manage hazardous waste. It’s inconceivable that a local resident would be happy for trucks containing hazardous waste to thunder through their neighbourhood on to a new waste site. Yet, through leading questions and a disproportionate number of waste companies contributing to the consultation, a majority of the respondents amazingly answered yes to this question. (5)

Attempts to use the Freedom of Information Act to get the South London Waste Partnership to disclose who the “residents” were who said “yes” to hazardous waste have so far been unsuccessful. The South London Waste Partnership is citing data protection law as the reason they will not disclose the names and addresses of these individuals.

“Research shows that hazardous waste fetches the highest price in the waste hierarchy so it’s not surprising that waste companies want this type of waste to be included in the contract.

“If this council had publicised the first consultation in the same manner as the second consultation, there is no doubt in my mind the incinerator option would not be on the table. Therefore, the council needs to explain why the initial consultation, which triggered the waste burning solution, did not receive front page coverage in its own newspaper. Was there an agenda set?

“It seems the council and the government is representing the wishes of the waste companies rather than the people of Croydon. Naturally, these companies are after the most profitable solution rather than the safest solution. The authorities need to adopt a zero waste strategy because if the market was left to decide then health and environmental considerations would simply be excluded.”


Sutton and Croydon Green Party submitted a 5000 word document to the first consultation
(2) Attachment
(4) On 27th Jan 2010, Jim Duffy was invited to the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change to contribute to the new nuclear power consultation.
(5) Attachment – Question 5

Tags ,

No comments:

Standing up for what matters