Independent MEP, Nessa Childers, said this morning that the recent Sellafield radioactivity alert is a reminder of the need of much greater communication between Ireland and the UK on matters relating to nuclear safety.
‘The Government must step up engagement with the UK following the latest Sellafield radioactivity alert. We need as a nation to take a more proactive approach to nuclear safety. I am really concerned that there appears to be a lack of urgency regarding this issue.
‘Last year, the Irish people were not consulted about the new nuclear power station planned for Hinkley Point in Somerset, even though consultation is required under UN regulations.
‘It seems to me that this Government, like previous governments, has failed to learn from past mistakes and has failed to take into account the very real dangers of nuclear energy.
‘Since the accident in Fukushima, I have debated nuclear safety in Europe and it is my firm conviction is that there is no such thing as safe nuclear power.’
The MEP, who is running for re-election in Dublin in May, also said she will raise the issue at a meeting with Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Energy, in Strasbourg next week. Ms Childers has been scheduled to discuss her concerns about EirGrid and the Government’s energy policy in Ireland.
The Shellafield site was developed in the 1940s and is located 180km from Ireland north east coastline. In 1992, the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland was established to advise Irish governments on radiation and radioactive contamination. The organisation is allowed access to the Shellafield site and has previously attributed higher levels of radioactivity present in Irish waters to the plant.