Airport expansion 'poses risk of nuclear disaster'

Friday, October 17, 2008

The risk of a nuclear disaster is still as high as initially predicted should an aircraft from Lydd Airport crash into the Dungeness power station.

After reviewing Lydd Airport’s second round of environmental information Lydd Airport Action Group’s (LAAG’s) nuclear safety advisor still thinks the risk is substantial.

John Large of consulting engineers Large and Associates found no reason to change his conclusion the proposed expansion of Lydd Airport means a risk of an aircraft crashing into Dungeness stands at one in 689,229 each year.

His findings were initially set out in his report in March last year and based on the proposed expansion to 500,000 per year.

Should Lydd Airport expand to two million passengers a year then the risk increases to odds of one in 409,691 in each year.

Mr Large said: "There is nothing in the new supplementary information which could change my mind.

"I consider the risk to have increased if anything because the airport seems to be committed to increasing the aircraft levels at a time when there are firm proposals to develop the nuclear power plant.

"To do this they would have to move the new Dungeness C site further in land bringing the plant nearer to the airport and that means the risk goes up."

Spokesman for LAAG Louise Barton said: "The risk levels are substantially higher than the one in 10m level of acceptable odds imposed by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in order to maintain the nuclear safety case.

"Therefore, the risk of accidental aircraft crash damage would be an unacceptable aspect of the overall nuclear safety case."

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