Anti-nuclear campaigners from all over Britain are converging on Somerset today for a mass rally to be followed on Monday by a ‘mass trespass’ at the proposed site of the Hinkley C nuclear power station.
Today hundreds of protesters are due to help to wheel symbolic barrels of radioactive waste through the streets of nearby Bridgwater.
Campaigners say the rally aims to highlight the stockpile of used nuclear fuel that will be stored at Hinkley Point if the new power station gets the green light.
It will be addressed by ex-nuclear workers, local residents, band Seize The Day, and guests from Fukushima and the anti-nuclear movement in India.
Theo Simon will read a statement prepared from the notes of Crispin Aubrey, the local Stop Hinkley campaign founder who died last week while organising the event.
On Monday, the new leader of the Green party, Natalie Bennett will be joining the mass trespass when protesters aim to scale the fence surrounding the land designated for the new power station to plant seeds to symbolise their hope that a third nuclear plant will not be built on the site and the land revert to nature.
Campaigners say they expect arrests.
Yesterday EDF, which runs the existing nuclear plant and wants to build the new twin reactor plant said: “We respect the rights of individuals to peaceful and lawful protest, however, we are also mindful of the pressure these events can place on the local community with whom we have strong links.
“Working alongside the relevant authorities, we have made efforts to minimise any potential impact on local residents while allowing the protesters who have travelled here today to have their say.”
Yesterday campaigners raised a temporary barn at the centre of their camp, on what they say is common land at North Wick Moor.
Activist Nikki Clarke said: ”EDF have demolished the historic barns and bat-roosts on the Hinkley C site, so we have raised a new one here, and we will keep coming back until these plans for a new radioactive waste factory have been abandoned.”
Stop New Nuclear member Theo Simon said: “This week has not been good for new nuclear in the UK. Chinese investors have pulled out, councillors in Cumbria have delayed a decision on storing future radioactive waste, and a report by Europe’s Energy Commission said the existing reactors across Europe will need a further £25 billion to make them safe.
“Nuclear is dead in the water and will only go ahead if corporations like EDF can get public subsidies from consumers and workers’ taxes– but that is like turkeys voting for Christmas.”
EDF said: “As the Government has said, the UK continues to need new nuclear power. We also greatly appreciate the support of the large majority of local residents who recognise the contribution we make to the area and the benefits that a new power station would bring to Somerset.
"Hinkley Point C is expected to generate a £100 million annual boost to the South West economy."