Britain: Blockade of nuclear plant planned

June 18, 2011

With Italy being the latest European country to reject nuclear power in a June 12-13 referendum, a coalition of anti-nuclear groups in Britain has announced plans to hold a mass non-violent blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station on October 3.

The plant, near Bridgwater in Somerset, is expected to be the site of the first new nuclear power station.

Hundreds of campaigners are expected to take part in Gandhi-style civil disobedience, risking arrest by blockading the access road to the site in protest over the threat posed by nuclear power.

Other campaigners will support those blockading while not risking arrest.

The blockade is the first action of Stop New Nuclear — an alliance of local and nation groups opposed to new nuclear plants founded by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop Nuclear Power Network UK, Kick Nuclear, South West Against Nuclear, Shutdown Sizewell, Sizewell Blockaders, Trident Ploughshares and Stop Hinkley.

Groups in different areas of Britain are already mobilising campaigners to travel to the protest.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: “Whilst Germany and Italy are now set against nuclear power, Britain seems to be taking almost no account of the lessons that must be learnt from the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima.

“If the government pushes ahead with new nuclear plans, a wave of civil disobedience will dog construction at each site. Millions of people live in the areas equivalent to the zones evacuated in Japan.

“Are we really prepared to risk our safety by pursuing a dirty, dangerous and expensive technology which cannot make any serious contribution to the fight against climate change?

“We’ll be joining the blockade to put down a marker to the government. This protest will come to be seen as just the tip of the iceberg if they decide to build a whole new generation of these toxic timebombs, which are only ever a few errors away from leaving vast areas contaminated with radioactive poisons.

“We demand that the government — which includes Lib Dem ministers who opposed nuclear power until they entered the coalition — scrap their plans and instead invest in the creation of genuinely green power sources.”

Andreas Speck of Kick Nuclear said: “This blockade will be the first big mobilisation against new nuclear. If the government and nuclear firms like EDF continue to ignore the lessons of Fukushima we will be back to organise more and more civil disobedience.

“This is not just a fight about one proposed power station - if people power stops these plans at Hinkley Point, we will be stopping the whole programme dead in its tracks.”

Angie Zelter of Trident Ploughshares said nuclear weapons disarmers from across the country would be joining the blockade in an alliance that recognises the close links between the civil and military uses of nuclear energy and aims to promote nuclear disarmament and safe, sustainable and community-owned energy production.

She said: “It is appalling that new nuclear power stations are being built when they will be adding to the mountain of highly dangerous radioactive waste that we have no idea how to dispose of safely.”

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