MEP calls for nuclear halt

A NORTH East MEP has called for a halt on further nuclear developments in light of the crisis in Japan.

Fiona Hall, who is the Liberal Democrat energy spokeswoman in the European Parliament, has written to the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy Chris Huhne to stop any nuclear work until an urgent public debate has been held.

Ms Hall previously played a leading role in the campaign to stop a nuclear power station from being built at Druridge Bay in the 1980s.

Now she says the safety failures at the Fukushima plant following the earthquake and tsunami have brought concerns about nuclear power back into focus.

“The key issue at Fukushima is not the earthquake, but the failure of back-up systems during the emergency shutdown.

“This raises much wider questions about nuclear safety, not least because Japan is a country with a high reputation for technological reliability,” she said.

“With Hartlepool on the list of sites the Government is considering for future nuclear development, this is a very important issue for the region.

“I am particularly concerned that there has been too narrow an approach to nuclear safety, one which focused on technical systems and failed to take into account the wider consequences of a disaster scenario.”

She added: “Public and investor confidence in nuclear energy has been severely shaken by events in Japan.

“A moratorium is now necessary to give time for a full public debate and re-assessment.”