Members of Kilkenny County Council have expressed concerns about the proposed expansion of nuclear power on the UK’s west coast and the implications it could have for Ireland and the Irish Sea, writes Tess Felder.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Greens) raised the issue at this month’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council, including plans for several new reactors.
Cllr Noonan asked his fellow members to support the work of the group Nuclear-Free Local Authorities, and he said the issue had implications for the security and health of Ireland.
“This programme is going to place a further threat directly to the Irish people,” he said, noting that Ireland’s nuclear-free status “has been long-held and valued by Irish people for decades.”
Cllr Tomas Breathnach (Lab) agreed with his concerns about further nuclear developments in the UK, including the possibility of increased shipments of radioactive materials in the Irish Sea as a result.
Cllr Pat Crowley (FG) recalled visiting the Chernobyl area in 1995 in the wake of the nuclear disaster there.
“I have seen directly what nuclear power can do,” Clllr Crowley said. “Nuclear power, when it goes wrong, the radiation from it affects everybody, but particularly children.”
Cllrs Michael O’Brien (Lab) and Sean Treacy (FF) meanwhile said it was an opportune time to promote the development of wind farms around the county, particularly where interested parties have already expressed a desire to do so.
“Wind energy is a natural resource and it should be progressed as far as possible and get away from nuclear as much as possible,” Cllr Treacy said. He said there was no reason Ireland shouldn’t be self-sufficient in generating its own energy.