Jonathan Porritt criticises deal for nuclear reactors in UK
"COMPLETELY misguided" is how environmentalist Jonathan Porritt describes a multi-million pound deal to build six new nuclear reactors in the UK.
Mr Porritt, who lives in Cheltenham, has spoken out after Japanese firm Hitachi brokered a £700 million deal to build the six new nuclear power reactors, and David Cameron's declared the bid as a "multi-billion pound vote of confidence."
Oldbury in South Gloucestershire is one of the previously decommissioned nuclear sites now expecting a new reactor.
Mr Porritt granted that "lots of people" thought nuclear was the way forward, "including a lot of environmentalists".
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But "the truth of it, is an entirely misguided position that is being developed here," he said.
Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics West Midlands programme, Mr Porritt said: "You heard from the advocates there that it will take three to four years for them to get permitting for this new reactor design, nothing will be built until the first half of the next decade, every single new reactor brings significant delays with it, the cost increases all the time, (and) these reactors start at an asking price of £7billion."
As to claims new graduates will benefit from the 12,000 jobs hoped to be created out of Hitachi's nuclear development, Mr Porritt remained sceptical.
"It's possible they (graduates) might find some jobs in India and China, which will be building new reactors, but I think it's absolutely unlikely that they'll get any jobs here in the UK, apart from getting rid of the old nuclear programming, the decommissioning," he added.
Mr Porritt also reinforced his position that there "was absolutely no chance whatsoever" he would ever be convinced by the case for nuclear.
His remarks on the life span of the project were qualified by Horizon's chief operating officer, Alan Raymer, who said the company, now being taken over by Hitachi, "would expect to complete the licensing process in three to four years," and for the plants to be up and running "in the early 2020s".
A long-term blogger, Mr Porritt, who co-founded the green pressure group Forum for the Future, recently wrote of how he was "staggered" by how many people "think there is a role for nuclear power in the UK".