>One of the highlights of yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions was seeing Jo Swinson asking a question that’s on all our minds at the moment. I’ve certainly been shaken to the core as I’ve watched events unfold at the Fukushima plant in Japan in the wake of the tsunami. It just shows how a natural phenomenon can destabilise a reactor, and of the consequences of loss of power lines – especially how far afield the effects are felt.
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan as we watch their horror unfold and see warnings today about heightened radiation in Tokyo’s water supply. It is not just earthquakes and tsunamis that can threaten the cooling systems of nuclear reactors, so does the Prime Minister agree that what has happened at Fukushima will have consequences for the new nuclear power stations proposed for the UK?
I am sure that the whole House will want to join the hon. Lady in sending our condolences to people in Japan and to express our admiration for their incredible bravery and resilience in dealing with this immense crisis. Of course we must learn any lessons that need to be learned about nuclear power, which is why the head of the nuclear safety inspectorate is looking at this issue. As I have said before, the power stations we have in Britain are of a different type from those in Japan. We are not planning to build any like those, and we are not in an earthquake zone or a zone subject to tsunamis, but of course we have always got to test against all eventualities. I am sure that there is further testing we can do on nuclear power.
“With warnings today about heightened radiation in Tokyo’s water supply, the consequences of Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami serve as a serious reminder of the danger inherent in nuclear power generation.
“Whilst I am pleased that investigations are being carried out into the UK’s nuclear safety, earthquakes and tsunamis are not the only disasters that can threaten the cooling systems of nuclear reactors. The Fukushima disaster highlights the importance of investing in renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency to pave the way for a safe and secure low-carbon future.”
I can’t really write a post about Jo at the moment without taking the opportunity to remind you that she’s running the London Marathon in 3 weeks’ time in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. She wants to raise £100 for every mile, a total of £2620. If you can, please sponsor her here.