Sizewell: Locals to get anti-radiation pills

Sizewell B
Sizewell B nuclear power plant Photo: PA

An entire Suffolk town could be given anti-radiation pills to take in the case of a nuclear emergency. Some people in the town already have the pills, but the emergency planning area could be widened in the future

A public consultation is looking at current evacuation plans for the Sizewell power plant near Leiston. A local forum put forward new proposals, saying they've learnt lessons from the Fukushima disaster in Japan almost two years ago.

Since it opened in the 1960s the nuclear power plant at Sizewell has had its supporters and its critics. Caught up in a worldwide debate about nuclear energy, some say sites like the one on the Suffolk coast are fundamentally unsafe.

But so far any fears of danger to the community have proved unfounded. In more than four decades of operation there have been no disasters at Sizewell A or Sizewell B, and now a third power plant is under consultation.

Emergency plans are already in place for Sizewell, but today a public consultation began which could see measures stepped up.

The proposals include widening the emergency planning zone around Sizewell to 4km, taking in Thorpeness, Aldringham and the whole of Leiston. Those in the zone would get an 'anti-radiation pill' to take in the case of emergency. In Leiston some are sceptical about the plans.

One resident said:

"I don't think they'd be effective. I think it's just a sop, to public opinion."

Another told Anglia news:

"I'd take it if there were a disaster but, I'd probably take anything!"

While a third was equally sceptical of the idea:

"Well I suppose anything's better than nothing but I can't see it making that much difference. I think if that's going to blow we're all going to blow with it."

In 2011 the Fukushima disaster in Japan reignited the debate about nuclear power stations. Caused by an earthquake and Tsunami, the chances of a similar incident in Suffolk are remote. It hasn't stopped the protestors, in November police were called to help remove a group who'd chained themselves to the gates.

Locally though Sizewell's largely seen as bringing jobs and prosperity to the area, rather than something to worry about.