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Nuclear power plant decision branded a travesty by campaigners

Anti-nuclear campaigners have slammed a council’s decision to allow EDF Energy to begin clearing land earmarked for a nuclear reactor. And they pledged to step-up their campaign of direct action against the energy giant.

Activists from the Stop New Nuclear network branded West Somerset Council’s decision yesterday to allow EDF to start bulldozing 400 acres next to Somerset’s Hinkley Point nuclear power station as a ‘circus and a travesty’. The planning committee’s decision paves the way for preparatory work to begin on the Hinkley C mega-reactor.

Local Bridgwater resident and activist, Nikki Clark, said campaigners are now gearing up for a mass blockade of Hinkey Point on October 3rd. ‘‘The planning committee was more concerned about the road layout that the social and environmental impact of such a huge power plant. Our only hope now is to physically stop the trashing of much-loved woodlands and pastures with our bodies.’

She added: ‘The travesty of the event was emphasized by the fact that permission for a wind farm on the same site was refused two years ago because of concerns about its environmental impacts. These will be dwarfed by the devastation planned by EDF.’

Campaigners maintain that ‘new nuclear’ power is dangerous and expensive. ‘After the Fukushima accident in Japan, the government should be pausing to consider the lessons rather than ploughing mindlessly ahead,’ said Stop Hinkley spokesman Crispin Aubrey. ‘Other countries are showing that a non-nuclear renewable future is feasible – we should be following their lead.’

The German government recently announced a complete phase-out of nuclear power within a decade. Its report, Germany’s Energy Turnaround – a collective effort for the future also rules out a increase in the use of fossil fuels.

‘The secret ingredient is an upscaling in the use of combined heat and power – a proven technology that will support a national energy efficiency programme,’ says Camilla Berens from Kick Nuclear. ‘The burning question is, if the German government can do, why can’t ours? We want a future, not a disaster.’

Notes to the editor:

The Stop New Nuclear network objects to EDF's preparatory works because:

• There is no certainty that EDF will go ahead with building Hinkley C, partly for financial reasons. The company’s prototype power station at Flamanville in France is now four years behind schedule and its cost has almost doubled to £6 billion.

• If the French company does not gain approval for the power station from the Infrastructure Planning Commission, over 400 acres of beautiful countryside will have been needlessly trashed. EDF claims that it could be returned to its original state is a nonsense.

• The amount of time allegedly to be saved – about a year – is insignificant compared with the overall timescale of building nuclear plants of up to 10 years. This is simply an exercise in EDF “jumping the gun”.

• There is no energy gap which cannot be filled by other means, as nuclear supporters claim. Other non-nuclear power stations can be built faster and cheaper while we move towards a safer, cleaner future based on renewable sources.

• Any supposed economic benefits to the area from this work will be outweighed by the disruption it will cause. The Planning Officer's report accepts, for example, that the employment benefits are “likely to be relatively small… compared to the local impacts”.

Nikki Clark, Stop Hinkley: 07736-930069
Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares: 07835-354652
Camilla Berens, Kick Nuclear: 07980 509986

More information on the Stop New Nuclear mass blockade can be found at: http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk

ENDS

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