Safety studies of Sellafield carried out for local authorities tell us that a direct hit by a passenger jet on the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant would contaminate Britain with two and a half times more radioactivity than the amount that escaped during the Chernobyl disaster 5 .
The studies also inform us that up to 2,646lb of the highly radioactive and long-lasting isotope caesium-137 would be released into the atmosphere, contaminating Britain, Ireland, continental Europe and beyond, making swathes of the country uninhabitable and causing more than two million cancers.
In the light of the twin towers atrocity this is a completely unacceptable risk.
They epitomise the centralisation of power
There is a burgeoning awareness among citizens that they are more free and more in control of their lives if facilities and decision-making occur at local level; that Big Government should only control those matters which cannot be dealt with locally. Nuclear power is the ultimate way of centralising power, putting it in the hands of experts, multi-national corporations and Big Government. In complete contrast to this, benign methods of supplying power such as wind and water turbines, solar energy, and heat pumps can be in the control of local communities and even, for some provisions, households.
Poor countries are made dependent on rich ones
Poor countries do not have the knowledge and facilities to design, build, maintain and run their own nuclear power stations. This puts them at the mercy of the rich and more technically advanced states if they go down the nuclear power route.
Technically less advanced countries with nuclear power stations increases the safety risks. As Professor Peter Bradford writes "A world more reliant on nuclear power would involve many plants in countries that have little experience with nuclear energy, no regulatory background in the field, and some questionable records on quality control, safety and corruption' 6 .
By adopting benign forms of power supply the UK could help to promote the people-friendly way forward.
These plants draw funds away from the development of sustainable energy
Research undertaken and funds spent on nuclear power are highly detrimental to bringing forward sustainable energy supplies.
Each nuclear power plant costs around -5 billion to build. With such sums available we could quickly realise our sustainable energy potential. As Friends of the Earth tell us "With some of the windiest weather in Europe and almost 8.000 miles of coastline, the UK is a power house waiting to be switched on 7 .
The uranium fuel will become increasingly scarce.
The quantity of available uranium is limited and will reduce. The price will go up. If the world adopts nuclear power as a major source of energy there will be uranium wars just as there are now oil wars. There are unlikely to be wars fought over sustainable locally generated, solar, wind or wave power.