Whitehaven News

The Whitehaven News


Thursday, June 28, 2001

Hopes of a post election green light for the Sellafield Mox plant were dashed after the government conceded it would have to hold another round of public consultations.

The environmental group Friends of the Earth succeeded in a High Court action that BNFL had not shown all the economic costs of Mox in the consideration of the plant's viability.

It has been four years since state owned BNFL invested over 480 millions on the Mox plant and seen it lie idle awaiting endless consultation hearings.

The latest High Court ruling will delay it another three months, and according to anti-nuclear group CORE will show the controversial plutonium Mox fuel plant is uneconomic.

Martin Forwood for CORE said: "This ruling means that BNFL will not be allowed to disregard the 482 million cost of the project in trying to prove it makes economic sense. They had to take into account the huge cost of building Thorp when trying to justify that project...they had hoped to keep the huge cost of Mox as a "sunk cost" but the courts have quite rightly said it has to be considered...I would say Mox is sunk as a result.''

Solicitors acting for the government agreed last week to publish the report, by Arthur D Little Consultants, minus any information that would "cause unreasonable damage to BNFL's commercial operation or to the economic case for the plant itself". The public will have four weeks to study the document and make further comments. BNFL has warned that any slippage on the decision beyond midsummer would place pressure on existing contracts for Mox fuel with a Swiss customer. Peter Roderick, FoE legal adviser, was "delighted" that ministers had agreed to publish the report but also "startled" that they had excluded some financial information. A BNFL official said the plant had already gone through four public consultations and the group needed a decision from the government "with some urgency".

BNFL said: "We look to the government to bring this uncertainty to an end as soon as possible. The operation of the Mox SMP is crucial to BNFL and to the future of West Cumbrian economy, supporting nearly 2000 jobs.'