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Nuclear watchdog schedules 'thorough review'

PUBLISHED: 10:48 17 September 2010

A WATCHDOG that monitors Suffolk's nuclear power stations has agreed to review the way it works.

Sizewell A and B Stakeholder Group (SSG) is set to undertake a thorough examination of its constitution.

The decision was made at its latest meeting and will also look at the way members are allowed to vote. As part of the review Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, asked representatives to change the rules to bring them in line with local councils.

Currently, members with a financial interest in the power station – such as an employee or someone claiming a pension – are allowed to vote on any decisions.

This is similar to other stakeholder groups across the country but members of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign would like to see it changed. They think it would be fairer if those with a financial interest were not allowed to vote – similar to local councils.

“There has got to be a root and branch review,” Mr Barnett said. “It is right that these individuals should be involved in any debate but they should not vote.

“As it stands we do not feel it is a fair reflection of public opinion and if the SSG is not there to listen to the views of the public then what is it there for?”

The stakeholder group – which is run independently of the power stations – is made up of parish, town, district and county councillors, representatives from Sizewell A and B, co-opted members brought in for their skills and background and one or two other interested parties.

Richard Smith, chairman of the SSG, said: “The stakeholder group is going to undertake a thorough review of the constitution, the way it works and its effectiveness. Because Mr Barnett raised this at the last meeting we will certainly look at the issue of people with supposed interests.

“However, I would like to say that the group needs to be representative of the community and there are an awful lot of people within the community who currently work or who have worked at the power station. I think it would not be a representative group if we did not have any with that background.”

Mr Smith, who also chairs the national stakeholder group, said the current practice of allowing employees and past employees to vote was common in other groups across the country.

“I am happy to defend how things are at the moment but we certainly will be looking at it,” he said. “There will be a thorough and wide-ranging review of how we work.”

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