Dáil debates

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

3:00 pm

Photo of Ciarán CuffeCiarán Cuffe (Dún Laoghaire, Green Party)

I take issue with the suggestion that we must go with the prix fixe menu. I believe we can eat À la carte. Other member states have requested that part of their contributions to the EU budget are not given to EURATOM. EURATOM receives €1 billion of the €100 billion annual EU budget. Much of that money is spent on researching the next generation of nuclear reactors. Ireland contributes €8 million every year to the EURATOM budget, spending more on it than it spends on the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland and nuclear safety.

How then can the Minister look the UK Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, in the eye and tell him to shut the Sellafield plant when the Government spends millions of euro on EURATOM? How can the Minister take a case to the European Court of Justice regarding the MOX plant when the taxpayer is funding research into the next generation of nuclear reactors? Some reports presented to the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Local Government show that EURATOM is conducting research into gas-cooled fast reactor systems, lead-cooled fast reactor systems, molten salt reactor systems, sodium-cooled fast reactor systems, supercritical-water-cooled reactor systems and very high temperature reactor systems. EURATOM is not about nuclear safety but about pushing the nuclear energy agenda at a European level. Large amounts of EURATOM funding are going into making the next generation of nuclear reactors. How can the Minister claim he is doing everything he can to shut the Sellafield plant when taxpayers, through his intercession, are funding research into the nuclear industry to the tune of €8 million?


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