Hidden nuclear incidents revealed

By Liz Stephens

Parliamentary questions have revealed a worrying catalogue of fires and coolant leaks at British nuclear installations.

In the last eight years 82 fires and 83 coolant leaks were recorded, raising serious safety and environmental concerns.

Scottish National Party energy spokesman, Mike Weir asked the questions in parliament to energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband.

The information reveals there have been nine incidents this year already including three coolant leaks to the environment.

Mr Weir said: “One incident is troubling, but this catalogue of fires and leaks is extremely disturbing, and the obvious fear is what could have happened if any one of these incidents had not been detected in time.

“It paints a very unsettling picture about the state these installations are in, and how they are operating.

“These incidents are clearly inconvenient for UK ministers who seem more interested in selling the idea of new generation of reactors than telling us about the dangers of the existing ones.”

Last month a Channel 4 News investigation revealed that the Sizewell A nuclear power station came close to a serious nuclear disaster in June 2007.

By chance, a contractor noticed a burst pipe inside the Sizewell A station – which led to a huge leak from the pond used to cool thousands of nuclear fuel rods.

The government recently announced £15 million for a project to establish a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

Nuclear energy forms part of the government’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy.