Torness radioactive waste plan branded ‘crazy’

Torness power station in East Lothian is operated by EDF Energy
Torness power station in East Lothian is operated by EDF Energy
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PLANS to ship radioactive waste from Torness power station by road have been described as “crazy” by a former Government advisor.

French nuclear firm EDF Energy is applying for new authorisations to allow to move the dangerous waste between its two nuclear power stations at Torness and Hunterston in North Ayrshire.

Opposition fear it would mean containers will be increasingly moved, heightening the risk of accidents.

Applications made to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) by the power giant, go out to consultation this month. Both include the stipulation “the ability to receive radioactive waste from other EDF power stations for the purpose of interim storage, loading of containers and onward transfer.”

Energy consultant Pete Roche, a former government radiation adviser based in the Capital, warned it was a “nightmare vision with waste trucks criss-crossing the country.”

He said: “Transporting nuclear waste is always going to be a risk, so the more you transport it, the greater the danger.

“The Scottish Government should force EDF Energy to operate according to its sensible policy of requiring waste to be treated as near to where it is produced as possible instead of allowing this crazy plan putting the central belt of Scotland at risk.”

However, The Office for Nuclear Regulation, which overseas nuclear regulation in the UK, said it had made no objection to the proposals as it should help facilitate the timely disposal of waste from the two sites.

An ONR spokeswoman said: Any shipments of waste between Torness and Hunterston are required to be carried out in full compliance with regulations covering the transport of radioactive material.”

Last week, bosses has to shut down a nuclear reactor at the plant after a safety alert was triggered.

The power plant, which generated 30 per cent of Scotland’s electricity last year, is 25 years old.

The Scottish Government played down fears stating there would be no long-term storage of waste transferred between sites.

A spokesman said: “Any inter-site transfers that might take place would have to be handled carefully.”

EDF Energy confirmed radioactive waste would be transported by road.

A company spokesman said: “This change is purely a practical one to facilitate more flexible disposals by allowing waste to be collected temporarily at one site before being sent for disposal.”