Welcome to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP)'s blog. The DECC YAP is a group of young people aged between 15 and 25 from all over the UK, with a wide-range of backgrounds, from academia to activism.

Our aim is to inform everyone and anyone about DECC's activities and likewise to help DECC understand and take into account the concerns of young people. We are a medium of consultancy and conversation. Much of our work looks at finding a 'Pathway to 2050', reviewing how energy with be supplied and used in the next four decades, so follow us and join us on the journey!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hinkley Point Visit: Initial Reaction

Tom, Zach, Kash and Alice at Taunton Railway Station
Aakash, Alice, Kirsty, Zach and myself (Tom) today visited Hinkley Point nuclear power station, near Bridgwater, Somerset. The site itself is split into Hinkley Point A - a plant out of use and now owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA), in the process of being decommissioned by contractors Magnox South - and Hinkley Point B, owned by British Energy, itself owned by EDF and Centrica, and still operational. Both offered very different aspects of nuclear power, and were invaluable for us to see. I'll tease you with a few details about the visit, but a more complete post will follow.

Hinkley Point B is a massive station housing two reactors, powering one million homes. It employs seven-hundred people and provides a huge boost to the local economy, but as environmentalists and young people, we wondered at what cost? Although nuclear power has relatively low carbon emissions per unit generated, the lasting legacy of nuclear waste worried all of us - is it ethical to leave hugely hazardous waste for our descendants to deal with thousands of years into the future? Over time standards and spending may slip, and a catastrophic accident could ensue. The reactor itself appeared rigourously safe - we felt reassured that an incident like that at Chernobyl would never be allowed to happen - but can we guarantee some body will exist for thousands of years to deal with this waste?

More to follow shortly. We were not allowed to take pictures in or around the site, so photos are of us in the train station and taxi, unexcitingly!

Kash is worried about sprouting extra fingers if exposed to radiation before the visit, and Alice is disgusted at Kirsty's happiness.

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