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Nuclear power sites at risk of flooding and eroding, FoIA shows

A FoIA request by the Guardian has revealed that 12 of Britain’s 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change.

The analysis was conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as part of a major investigation into the impact of climate change on the UK.

Nine of the sites have been assessed by Defra as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels, storms and erosion by the 2080s.

The sites include all of the eight proposed for new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities.

Many of the sites date back to the 1950s and 1960s, and are unlikely to be fully decommissioned for decades.

Experts suggested the main concern was of inundation causing nuclear waste leaks. “Sea level rise, especially in the south-east of England, will mean some of these sites will be under water within 100 years,” said David Crichton, a flood specialist at the hazard research centre at University College London.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said flood risk at every site was reviewed at least every 10 years. A spokesman said: “Power stations are designed with flood protection measures to protect against a one-in-10,000-year flood event and planning requirements state that new nuclear plants are also designed to take account of climate change impacts.”

But Greenpeace accused the government and nuclear industry of covering up the real extent of flood and erosion risk.

Council tenancy fraud shock

90% of council house tenancy fraud goes undetected, with unlawful subletting and people transferring their homes on to relatives being the most common scam, the Daily Mirror reports.

A FoIA by Callcredit Information Group reveals that nearly three quarters of all local authorities failed to find a single case of such frauds in 2011.

However crooked tenants were caught by 85% of councils, which had specialist fraud teams.Andrew Davis of Callcredit said: “The social housing waiting list exceeds 2.3 million and tenancy fraud is endemic across all areas.

“Clearly councils with fraud investigation teams are beginning to yield results.” The National Fraud Authority says council tenancy fraud costs £1billion a year.

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