Anti-nuclear protesters have declared the mass blockade at Hinkley Point today as a victory over EDF Energy. The nine-hour blockade in Somerset attracted supporters from all over the UK. Several came from as far afield as Ireland, Germany and Belgium.
Stop New Nuclear spokesperson, Andreas Speck, said the blockade has put the government and EDF on the back foot. ‘Following the interest this blockade has attracted, both regionally and nationally, the government and EDF can no longer claim that the we need nuclear energy to keep the lights on.’
He continued: ‘Germany has committed to a nuclear-free future without buying nuclear power from France or building new coal-fired power stations. The German government is looking at a decentralised energy model with a mix of renewables and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to bridge the gap left by withdrawal from nuclear. If Germany can do it, why can’t we?’
Angie Zelter, who hit the headlines in 1996 when she and other activists attacked a Hawk jet destined to suppress protests in East Timor (and was subsequently cleared of criminal damage by a jury), blasted EDF’s claims that Hinkley Point is sustainable.
She added: ‘Over its lifetime, Hinkley will consume more energy than it produces - if you take into account the energy used to extract uranium and the power needed to store radioactive waste for hundreds of years. It doesn’t add up.’
Zelter said the risk of flooding is an increasing worry. ‘Locals are well aware of the constant danger of flooding around Hinkley,’ she continued. ‘We have information from workers there that several years ago, floodwater breached the plant’s retaining walls.’
She added that this was a particular concern now that EDF wants to build two new mega reactors at Hinkley. ‘Radioactive waste from the proposed new ERP reactors will be so toxic that it will have to be stored on the site for over 100 years. With the growth in extreme weather conditions there is no guarantee that this waste can be stored safely.’
And Zelter blasted the government for claiming that nuclear is the only solution to combating climate change. ‘If the government can spend billion renewing Trident missiles and fighting Gaddafi in Libya, why can’t they find the money to build truly sustainable energy systems that would create a great many more jobs than the nuclear sector can?’
The mass blockade was described by Stop New Nuclear organiser, Andreas Speck, as a, ‘celebration of dissent’ with pro-nuclear supporters being entertained by a Welsh choir and popular festival band, Seize The Day.
A man arrested on a footpath close to the blockade was later released without charge.
For more information contact Camilla Berens on: 07811 451417