Government contributing to development of nuclear reactor

State pays €1.6m a year for membership of international nuclear energy groups

Sellafield nuclear plant in Seascale, England. Internal Department of Environment files show Ireland’s contributions to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor are legally binding and follow an EU decision of several years ago.

Sellafield nuclear plant in Seascale, England. Internal Department of Environment files show Ireland’s contributions to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor are legally binding and follow an EU decision of several years ago.

Mon, Jan 6, 2014, 01:01


Despite its staunch anti-nuclear stance, the Government is paying €1.6 million a year for membership of international nuclear energy groups and the development of an experimental reactor.

Ireland is a member of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Association and the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, which require annual membership fees. But perhaps most jarring are its financial contributions to an EU project to develop a nuclear fusion reactor in France.

Successive governments have criticised the development of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in the UK.

Internal Department of Environment files show Ireland’s contributions to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor are legally binding and follow an EU decision of several years ago. The reactor is the world’s largest bid to harness the power of nuclear fusion and offers the dream of almost limitless energy, with relatively little radioactive waste.

Other documents show Ireland’s financial subscriptions to international nuclear energy organisations arise from its membership of the UN and the OECD.

Policymakers have justified the payments on the basis that they allow Ireland to try to push for improvements to nuclear safety.

“The International Atomic Energy Association is the main international source for information on nuclear accidents, radioactive releases, radioactivity dispersion patterns and emergency response measures,” a department briefing note said.

Membership of both organisations costs the State just over €1.5 million annually.

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