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Jonathon Porritt to join anti-nuclear protest on eve of Fukushima anniversary

Protesters set to surround Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station on Saturday 10th March

Contact: Nancy Birch on 07980-509986

Leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt will join demonstrators at Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster - and to call for a halt to nuclear energy expansion.

Community groups from all over the UK will be forming a symbolic chain around the EDF Energy-owned power station on Saturday 10th March. The chain will represent their battle to stop the expansion of Hinkley Point and to halt the government’s push for eight new nuclear power stations around the UK. The event will be followed by a blockade of Hinkley Point’s main entrance.

Allied protests will also be taking place against new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in North Wales and Heysham in Lancashire. Demonstrations calling for an end to nuclear power are also expected in Japan, Germany, Spain, France and the US.

Speaking before the event, Jonathon Porritt said nuclear is not necessary to combat climate change. “We can achieve everything we need in terms of secure, low-carbon energy primarily from energy efficiency, renewables and modern technologies like Combined Heat and Power. I believe that we can still persuade UK citizens that ‘new nuclear’ is the wrong thing for us to be doing."

A Japanese couple who fled their home after the Fukushima disaster will be speaking at the Hinkley protest. They will explain what it is like to live through the ongoing nightmare that thousands of Japanese people are enduring.

Andreas Speck, spokesperson for the Stop New Nuclear alliance said the push for a nuclear renaissance will take the UK backwards rather than forwards. “The £60bn being spent on ‘new nuclear’ should be put into developing truly renewable forms of energy. The UK is being pushed into reliance on a technology that is dangerous, expensive and unnecessary.”

A raft of hidden government subsidies has also been brought in through the back door to support the government’s ‘nuclear renaissance’. Speck added: “In the longer-term ‘new nuclear’ will have a big impact on public funds because history has shown us that nuclear is not viable without state support.”

A new independent report entitled, A Corruption of governance?, has revealed that data presented to ministers was skewed in favour of the nuclear option. The correct figures show that nuclear power is not necessary to keep the lights on. The report concludes that the errors were, ‘Either a monumental series of mistakes or the ‘nuclear lobby’ has got control of the Whitehall machine’.

Safety is also a key concern. EU-funded research shows that the health risks posed by high-level nuclear waste from the new EPR reactors is up to seven times greater than waste from existing reactors. For this reason, it will have to be stored on site for over 150 years before it can be moved. Andreas Speck added: “This is a huge risk to employees at the proposed plants and to the communities living around them.”

Zoe Smith, spokesperson from South West Against Nuclear said the UK needs to move in a different direction. “Our protest at Hinkley is a wake-up call. We have to take a new approach to energy provision.”

She continued: “The reality is that we have to start reducing our energy consumption and making modern life more energy-efficient. We then need to spent the £60bn earmarked for ‘new nuclear’ on truly renewables forms of energy and research into more efficient forms of energy storage. Nuclear will simply lock us into the ‘business as usual scenario’ that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Nancy Birch, spokesperson for Boycott EDF added that the German government recently introduced a new energy policy that sets out a blueprint for a nuclear-free future. “Germany is paving the way by creating an energy infrastructure that is not only nuclear-free but safe and affordable. The burning question is, if Germany can do it, why can’t we?”

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Notes to the editor
The demonstration at Hinkley Point is organised by the Stop New Nuclear alliance. The alliance includes the Stop Hinkley, CND and Shut Down Sizewell campaign groups.

The human chain or ‘surround’ will take place from 1pm to 3.30pm on Saturday 10th March. During this event, Hinkley Point’s perimeter fence will be decorated with anti-nuclear slogans and Japanese origami peace cranes.

At an allotted time, there will be a one minute ‘noise wave’. Whistle, sirens and musical instruments will be sounded as a demonstration that anti-nuclear activists will not be silenced.

Mr and Mrs Ishiyama will be telling demonstrators at Hinkley Point how they left their home in Fukushima City six months after the nuclear disaster because of concerns over the impact of radiation contamination on them and their young child. Mr Ishiyama is currently working as a graphic designer, and his wife is dental assistant. They now live in Obihiro, Hokkaido.

A corruption of governance? was launched in January by Unlock Democracy and The Association for the Conservation of Energy. It is supported by MPs Caroline Lucas and Tessa Munt.

The EPR nuclear reactor: a dangerous waste of time and money is a new report by Greenpeace International that summarises the huge cost and safety concerns surrounding the new European Pressurised Water Reactors.

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