This is a guest post by Pete Roche, editor of the No2nuclearpower website.
The UK Government’s consultation on the Future of Nuclear Power – forced on to it by a successful legal action brought by Greenpeace – ended on Wednesday 10th October. By coincidence, Wednesday was also the 50th anniversary of Britain’s worst nuclear accident when the reactor core at Windscale caught fire sending a plume of radioactive material across the country. Five decades ago secrecy and cover-ups did nothing to reassure those with growing doubts about the risks of nuclear technology. Today, the closed consultation has carried on the tradition of wilfully misleading the public.
Britain’s leading environmental groups withdrew from the consultation prior to 8th September when a series of consultation workshops, organised by Opinion Leader Research (OLR), were held in eight cities around the UK with 1,100 member of the public who were asked to assess the case for and against nuclear power and then take a vote. The environment groups said the government had failed to fairly reflect the arguments presented at the meetings, and was distorting the evidence. Independently, 20 senior academics agreed that participants were misled.
An inconvenient truth about nuclear – that it can only make a small contribution to reducing the UK’s overall CO2 emissions – was not mentioned. The information given to the public was biased and incomplete. The Government’s intention was clear – provide very limited, biased information in order to lead the participants to a predetermined conclusion. Greenpeace has made a formal complaint to the Market Research Standards Council about the conduct by Opinion Leader Research.
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