Emails to Daily Telegraph from Rod Donnington-Smith



22/10/2013 at 1:39 AM

Dear Emily,

Having now watched the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change answer questions in the House of Commons I have the following additions to the points raised in my previous email (below):

He stressed that the clean up cost was to be included from the outset. £2 of strike price from the start of generating will be put aside in a clean up fund over the 60 years anticipated operational life span of the plant. The operation of this fund will be monitored and controlled. He later went on to state that he was satisfied that arrangements are in place to deal with nuclear waste both in the interim and in the long term plan. As part of this he mentioned DECC’s recently started “Consultation” process.

This at least covers financing or far more likely partially financing the cost of dealing with the resulting waste. Mark Hendrick (Lab Preston) was correct to query whether the figure of £2 would be adequate to cover the actual cost but even more relevantly he pointed out that they have as yet no identified and accepted disposal site.

I fail to understand how the Telegraph has not picked up on the cynical scheme dreamt up by DECC to re-issue a slightly but significantly amended version of the old MRWS process. Despite what Baroness Verma claimed, at the time of the launch of the “Consultation” document, this is not an entirely new or in reality a National process but a blatant ploy to foist a GDF upon West Cumbria under the guise of voluntarism. The County Council has been demoted to a consultative role while the district council’s role has been enhanced and now it has the control over whether to exercise the Right of Withdrawal. The Leader of the district council will chair the Steering Group, which comprises the local authority, the UK Government and RWMD (as the developer). In the case of Copeland, the Leader has made her views very clear and she is all in favour of continuation.

Whilst the “Consultation” document claims (in section 1.51) “The fact that two local authorities in West Cumbria voted in favour of continuing the search for a potential site for a GDF demonstrates that communities recognise the substantial benefits that are associated with hosting such a facility” is very misleading. The decision was made by 7 Executive Committee members in Allerdale and just 6 in Copeland. By far the majority of town and parish councils voted not to continue and in the only valid referendum was carried out in Ennerdale where there was overwhelming rejection of the proposal to continue. Under the new procedure it is proposed that the public will only have a chance to demonstrate its views at the end of the “focusing” phase by which time a great deal of environmental damage may have been done and a lot of expenditure incurred. There is ample scope to manipulate the sample to virtually ensure that the desired result is obtained. However, if the Government fails to get the result it wants, it can always treat it as being a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project thus giving the DECC Secretary of State the ultimate decision on whether to grant or refuse planning consent.

Yours sincerely,

Rod Donington-Smith


From: Rod Donington-Smith


Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 1:03 PM

Subject: Nuclear new build

Dear Emily,

Have left a comment (keswickian) on the Telegraph’s website below


Will the announced strike price of £92.50 for each megawatt hour, cover the cost of storage and eventual disposal of radioactive waste produced or will that be yet another  additional cost to be picked up by consumers and/or taxpayers?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has so far failed to come up with a satisfactory plan to deal with the nation’s existing radioactive waste stocks let alone waste from nuclear new build. In fact it has been remarkably quiet about this aspect when making the announcement.

Considering that some of this waste will remain toxic for over 100,000 years this is a problem that requires a sound national solution based on safety. However DECC continues to choose to ignore the fact that sites with the required geology will provide the safest locations for the construction of underground repositories for the disposal of such waste.  It instead continues to pursue its so called policy of “voluntarism”, which could well end up with the wrong site being selected thus endangering the whole country not just the area around the repository/dump.

The decision where to locate a repository cannot be left in the hands of a few cash-strapped district councillors, who in the case of West Cumbria have too close a relationship with the nuclear industry to be seen to be objective. Yet this is the policy being pursued by DECC with its revised consultation document cynically removing all potential opponents (including county councils) from the decision making process.

My letter on the subject to the editor sent on Saturday was not published. It would appear that the nuclear waste issue keeps being ignored by the national press.

Rod Donington-Smith

From: Rod Donington-Smith


Sent: Monday, October 07, 2013 1:49 AM

Subject: Review of the Siting Process for a Geological Disposal Facility

Dear Emily,

Do you not feel that the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s recently issued consultation document “Review of the Siting Process for a Geological Disposal Facility” deserves at least some critical comments?

By removing County Councils from the decision making process, it is a blatant attempt by the Government Department to manipulate the system to enable it to override the perfectly valid decision made less than eight months earlier by Cumbria County Council not to proceed to stage 4 of the MRWS process. The principal reason being that such a facility in West Cumbria would not be safe as the geology is unsuitable.

Safety must be the prime concern taking into account the nature of the waste and the timescales involved. Yet DECC still insists in following its policy of voluntarism rather than first seeking sites with appropriate geology. It seems that yet more money is about to be spent pursuing the wrong policy.

Yours sincerely,

Rod & Jill Donington-Smith

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