Press Release: September 19 2011
New nuclear risks at Dungeness spelled out in LAAG’s closing statement
its Closing Statement,
delivered at the end of the six month public inquiry into the large
scale development of Lydd Airport, LAAG outlined the evidence
supporting its case for apposing Lydd Airport’s proposed
development and appealed to the Secretary of State to reject the
planning application since it has the potential to
destroy wealth, to destroy the environment and to destroy the lives
of many people.
The Closing Statement also revealed that new evidence had
strengthened its case for objecting on nuclear safety grounds.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation* (ONR) made its original decision NOT to oppose Lydd Airport’s development in 2007, based only on a safety assessment of Dungeness B, the operational nuclear power station at Dungeness. No safety assessment was made of Dungeness A because it had ceased power generation at the end of 2006.
ONR recently reversed its opinion according to evidence revealed late
in the inquiry. This shows that it now regards Dungeness A to be more
dangerous than the operational Dungeness B. Despite this, no safety
assessment has been conducted for Dungeness A. Moreover, the ONR
failed to inform the inquiry of this change in opinion. It was
revealed as an inconsequential point in the evidence of one witness
also showed that the
ONR failed to reveal the longevity of the radiological hazards at
Dungeness, or to account for them in its safety assessment process.
For as long as Dungeness A and Dungeness B
remain on site, even when shut down and with all of the spent fuel
removed off-site, they will continue to present a radiological risk
throughout the extended 100 year or so decommissioning phase.
This is because of the amount of radioactive and other hazardous
substances on site, plus the vulnerability of certain irradiated and
contaminated parts of the plant to aircraft impact.
These factors invalidate the ONR’s decision not to
oppose Lydd Airport’s development.
safety is now being driven by Europe. In
the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster all Europe’s nuclear
reactors are being assessed to determine their vulnerability to
natural and made hazards such as aircraft accidents. This will
include Dungeness A and Dungeness B. Fortunately the results will be
peer reviewed. LAAG intends to make representations to the European
Nuclear Safety Regulatory Group to ensure the Lydd Airport hazard is
LAAG believes the Secretary of State cannot determine
Lydd Airport’s planning application until the completion of the
safety assessment process which is scheduled to be June 2012.
Peter Morris/ Lydd Airport Action Group/ 07766 680 990/ firstname.lastname@example.org
the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII)
Notes to editors:
is defined as the probability of an event weighted by the severity
of the consequences.
safety assessment process adopted by the ONR is inadequate. The
assessment of Dungeness B was made entirely on the basis of ruling
out an accident on the basis of probability, rather than assessing
the structural capability of Dungeness B to withstand an accident
and an examination of the consequences should an accident occur.
This is despite both the Dungeness A and Dungeness B designs
predating any regulatory necessity to take into account the
possibility of crashes of large commercial-sized aircraft.
probabilistic approach which forms the basis of the ONR’s safety
assessment is based on the Byrne model which is flawed. This
methodology is incapable of accounting for the special operating
circumstance at Lydd Airport, and therefore substantially
underestimates airport related risk, while the model also over
estimates the background risk.
Airport (which is owned by Sheikh Fahad al-Athel, a Saudi
businessman) received planning permission from Shepway District
Council on March 3, 2010 (a) to extend the runway at Lydd by
444metres to accommodate passenger jets (b) to build a new terminal
to accommodate up to 500,000 passengers per annum (p.p.a.). In 2010
Lydd Airport carried less than 500 passenger.
over 14,000 letters in protest, the Secretary of State called in the
decision for review by a Public Inquiry which started in Folkestone
on February 15th,
2011, and is scheduled to be completed in September 2011.
Lydd airport is located on an ecologically sensitive site near Dungeness on Romney Marsh, Kent. It is located less than 3 miles from the Dungeness nuclear complex and lies between two active MOD gunnery ranges at Hythe and Lydd
Nature, RSPB, CPRE Kent & Kent Wildlife Trust, are all opposed
to the development and presented evidence at the inquiry.
LAAG is an action group formed in 2004 to oppose the large scale development of Lydd airport. LAAG has ~3000 active members.