FIE’s successful complaint to the UN Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context [ESPOO] in March 2013 that we in Ireland had been deprived of our right to be consulted by the UK before constructing the first of a new series of nuclear power plants continues to play out across Europe.
Ireland’s position is that since the United Kingdom had concluded that ‘the likely impacts determined through a thorough EIA do not extend beyond the county of Somerset and the Severn Estuary’, the activity was not likely to give rise to a significant adverse transboundary impacts and the requirements under the Convention regarding notification to other States did not arise.
As an Austrian study submitted to the Committee stated, however, ‘A conservative worst case release scenario should have been included in the EIA. A source term, for example for an early containment failure or containment bypass scenario, should have been analyzed as part of the EIA – in particular because of its relevance for impacts at greater distances.’
As a result of the complaint, work may now have to be halted at the Hinkley C power plant construction site to allow for consultation.