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Fighting new nuclear power stations in the UK

Saturday, 31 March, 2018 (All day) to Friday, 31 May, 2019 (All day)

Stop New Nuclear in its tracks

Show the Government and the nuclear industry that we don’t want more waste, more risk and more lies in our communities. We can create all the energy we need from sustainable and safe renewable resources.
It’s not to late to have your say on this – people power can change everything.


As the global climate crisis tips into an emergency, we face urgent decisions about our energy supply. Do we seek a future based on sustainable development, with social justice and equity at its heart? Can we reduce our carbon footprint through reduced consumption, energy efficiency and innovative cleaner energy sources? Or do we continue to scrape at the bottom of the last century’s energy barrel, holding out for some miraculous technological quick fix, so long as it doesn’t affect business as usual, with the social inequality and environmental degradation that will continue to flow in its wake.

Nuclear power has been with us since the mid twentieth century and has never lived up to the promise of cheap energy for all. To date the costs have included: Displacement and sickness to communities living near extraction sites and those living near power stations; Serious accidents leading to land and water resources being permanently contaminated; And a build up of radioactive waste that needs on-going energy inputs just to keep it stable. In the UK the costs of developing nuclear technology for civil and inevitably military use have been borne by the taxpayer, either through public ownership, or more recently through subsidy mechanisms such as contracts for difference (CfD). CfD guarantees that bills for electricity from Hinkley C will be twice what we currently pay, with this multiplier increasing with every new power station built. This covers the cost of construction, but not the ‘clean up’ costs should something go wrong – which are also due to be underwritten by the UK Government.

Should new nuclear be part of our clean, green energy future? With the 2018 IPCC report on limiting global warming to 1.5°C predicting that investment in low carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency needs to be upscaled by a factor of six from 2015 levels by 2050 – do we want a large proportion of this going to outmoded and unsustainable nuclear power? With serious change needed in the next 12 years, what can be achieved by building infrastructure that typically overruns on time and budget estimates. For example Flammanville 3 on the north coast of France was due to be finished in 2012, a five year time-frame, but is currently still under construction at triple the original budget of €3.3 Billion. The current industry preoccupation is with Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNR), a way of introducing nuclear power quickly and comparatively cheaply at multiple sites. It is unclear if they have understood the level of objections this may face, comparable to the reaction to the industrialisation of the countryside and contamination of local environments which has brought the nascent domestic fracking industry to its knees.

This year we are facing another key decision about our future in the UK. You may not have heard, but the Government is holding a public consultation about their approach to burying the nuclear waste stockpile that has built up over the past 70 years of play now – pay later energy policy. The consultation ends on March 31st, kicking off a five year site search period, looking for a willing host community in England with suitable ground conditions for burying high level radioactive waste. Seperate approaches are being used in the rest of the UK. We are presented with two options: Leave the waste in toxic, poorly managed and crumbling storage facilities at Sellafield and elsewhere; or can it, bury it on the doorstep and forget about it, letting the contamination slowly leach into the environment over the next few centuries. The option of new surface managed facilities, such as those being developed in Scotland, is deemed too expensive and too much of a commitment. However at least this presents future generations with some options about how to deal with our mess other than simply to receive a radioactive dose in their food and water supply. One thing is clear – we need to find a solution to the current waste crisis before we go ahead and create yet more of it.

We have a tradition of innovation and creative thinking in the UK that needs to be supported to find real solutions to our energy crisis. Reliance on nuclear as a panacea is preventing more dynamic solutions from coming to fruition. A combination of lack of investment, withdrawal of subsidies and a planning environment that prioritises large scale national infrastructure over flexible, small scale entrepreneurship and communities’ needs is destroying our hopes of a 100% renewable energy future.
An example: The Swansea Tidal Lagoon, a prototype large scale tidal scheme predicted to power 150,000 homes, capable of being replicated in numerous coastal locations and utilising innovative technology that could be exported to the rest of the world. Rejected for subsidy by the Government as too costly at £1.3 Billion, while elsewhere in Wales they offered to directly invest in the Wylfa nuclear power station coming in at £16 Billion and generating energy for half the time and toxic waste for eternity. Even the National Infrastructure Commission thinks this is nuts, advising last year “Given the balance of cost and risk, a renewables-based system looks a safer bet at present than constructing multiple new nuclear power plants.”

We will be gathering at the Springfields nuclear site in Lancashire, the dark heart of the UK nuclear industry, to highlight the need for action on the twin fronts of new nuclear generation and radioactive waste disposal. Springfields is where nuclear fuel has been produced for both civil and military use, and waste processed for both the UK and foreign nuclear industry. It is an opportunity to follow the route of radioactive waste as it travels our transport network, to understand how this issue affects everyone, everywhere. We will even be dressing as barrels of waste in an attempt to break a world record for surrounding a nuclear site. We will be having conversations about how our nuclear energy use affects communities elsewhere in the world and sharing information about the likely effects of a Geological Disposal Facility waste dump in Cumbria or elsewhere.
We don’t have much time to make the right decisions. Are we going to choose long term, socially responsible and ethical energy supply? Will we make a moral commitment to the well-being of future generations? We need to come together and make the Government approach these challenges with vision and creativity, not with the poverty of ambition, opacity and lack of foresight that characterises the nuclear solution.

IPCC 2018: Summary for Policymakers para C.2.6

We have transports coming from Leeds,
and possibly more! Please contact us at springaction2019 [at] for more details or to offer seats in your transport from your community

More details on our FB pages look at Stop New Nuclear page and search events for transport details (you don't need a FB account to view the details).

Glasto BBC pic barrels JUNE2015_medium_0.jpg


Against all environmental and economic sense
The Government has now agreed contracts for offshore wind power to be delivered at half the price they locked us into for electricity from Hinkley C. THis power station alone will see a more than doubling of the wholesale market cost of electricity and that’s without the rest of their planned program. Given the levels of fuel poverty already in Britain, nuclear power will make electricity so eye-wateringly expensive many of us won’t be able to afford to have it! Meanwhile, renewables are just getting cheaper and cheaper.. with on-shore wind being the cheapest!
The only willing source of investment beyond the British taxpayer is now the Chinese State – who are seeking access to our grid and opportunities to expand their own nuclear program. Our Government has submitted to their demands to build three reactors of their own design on our shores. The French state, in the guise of EDF are simply seeking further expansion to avoid bankruptcy.
To perpetuate centralised control and expertise via the National Grid, local supply and ownership of our energy resource is being stymied in a tangle of red tape and adverse policy.


Planning without the people
Changes in National Planning policy (the National Policy Statements/Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning Directorate ) were originally devised to facilitate the nuclear new build program, by over-riding normal planning procedures for all new energy projects over 50 MW, essentially removing the democratic opportunity for local councils and residents to have a say in new industrial scale development in their area, i.e via the public enquiry. This process has experienced mission creep and been extended to include other potentially controversial projects like roads and fracking, in effect anything they want to build that people may disagree with. The process of scrutiny has been reduced from up to an average of 6 years down to a maximum of 6 months. The Planning Inspector can choose whether they hear submissions or not, including from technical experts. The final word is with the Secretary of State, who is primarily following the Government line.


The Environment
The proposed Hinkley C will would take at least 10 years to build. Thereby missing the government/industry created ‘energy gap’ that new nuclear was supposed to plug. They are now falling back on fracking, another damaging extreme energy source, to fulfil projected energy needs that are rapidly being supplied by renewable sources. If some of the subsidies of the nuclear industry were directed to renewables and efficiency measures we could be much further along the path to a sustainable energy future.
Globally, the mining of uranium leaves vast amounts of radioactive tailings and necessitates the trashing of land, the poisoning of water and human rights abuses. In addition, all this uranium has to be transported and processed using fossil fuels.
Furthermore, a carbon footprint is usually calculated with a “cradle to grave” analysis, but with nuclear power there is, as yet, no grave. There is no safe solution for nuclear waste. 10,000 generations will have to deal with the highly toxic waste of 3 generations. Britain has accumulated half a million cubic metres of highly radioactive waste from its nuclear reactors: enough to fill five Albert Halls. This is costing the taxpayer billions of pounds. With new build, this waste problem is predicted to both increase in its level of toxicity and, therefore, costs and dangers to the public
It is also absurd to think that nuclear power will save us from climate change when all our reactors are already prone to coastal flooding, and this danger will increase, as sea levels rise. New reactors such as Sizewell C are proposed at sea level, without any consideration of long term sea level changes.

The Economics
The government has said that there will be no subsidies for the new nuclear build. But no nuclear facility has ever been built, run or insured without huge amounts of tax-payers’ money and rising domestic bills. The reality is that EDF is already €44 billion in debt to the French government. Flamanville (EDF’s current new build in France) has already doubled its cost and time projections.
As for jobs, EDF has a poor track record. A third of Flamanville’s workforce are migrant labourers. EDF has been accused by the French unions of instigating a form of modern slavery on their workers.
Nuclear energy provides only a sixth of the UK’s electricity. We could save this much energy by insulating all our homes. Government subsidies to new nuclear build threaten to drain money away from genuinely renewable energy projects that could provide jobs. In Germany, the renewable energy industry employs 344,000 people and is growing. This is already 10 times more than the entire UK nuclear industry workforce.

The Politics
So, given all these disadvantages, why does the British government still insist on nuclear power?
Germany, Switzerland and Italy, have now halted their nuclear power programmes. The inference then, drawn from the UK’s policy, is that nuclear power has far more to do with politics than with creating electricity.
The UK sits on the Security Council of the UN. This dominant position is maintained by the fact that the UK is an established nuclear power. Nuclear power was military in its inception and it continues to serve the war machine. The production of electricity for civil use is a smoke screen for its true purpose: the production of plutonium and other nuclear materials used in weapon systems.
There is increasing evidence that modified uranium which could only have been produced in nuclear power stations is surfacing in the aftermath of NATO’s wars in Iraq, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. This poisons vast amounts of land and civilians for generations and also our own soldiers. The latest Anglo-French military agreement involves developing nuclear weapons at Aldermaston.

More information coming soon.

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What's New

Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 - 08:46

Seven people were arrested during a mass trespass at Hinkley Point power station, near Burnham-On-Sea, on Monday (October 8th).

The Stop New Nuclear Alliance said around 30 people had managed to get over the perimeter fence while three had attached themselves to the fence with locks and a further 20 had blocked the main gate.

More than 50 police officers guarded the power station as a weekend of action against the government's plans to build a third nuclear reactor, Hinkley Point C, were held.

Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 - 08:44

Six people were arrested during a mass trespass at the site of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station as campaigners dodged security staff and police to scale barbed wire-topped fencing.

More than 50 people from an alliance of anti-nuclear organisations were determined to breach the barrier to plant symbolic wildflower seeds on land they believe is being desecrated. A dozen succeeded.

Monday, 8 October, 2012 - 20:50

Anti-nuclear protesters targeted the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station, climbing over and cutting holes in the fence. Police made several arrests.

Demonstrators from a group called 'Stop New Nuclear', today staged a trespass of the proposed nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, near Bridgwater, Somerset. It was the culmination of a weekend of action which began with them setting up a makeshift camp next to the current power station on Friday and a march & rally in Bridgwater on Saturday.

Monday, 8 October, 2012 - 20:28

Seven people have been arrested as anti-nuclear protesters carried out a planned trespass at Hinkley Point.

More than 50 police officers attended the site as a weekend of action against government plans to build a third nuclear reactor drew to a close.

An EDF Energy spokesman said 15 people had trespassed on to its land.

The BBC's Clinton Rogers estimated that 50 protesters had been on site and he said he had seen "a handful" over the other side of the perimeter fence.

Monday, 8 October, 2012 - 18:04

Seven people were arrested during an anti-nuclear protest at Hinkley Point today.

The ‘Stop New Nuclear’ alliance attracted more than 50 protestors in Somerset this morning to stop EDF’s plans to build new nuclear plants at the Hinkley site.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police told ELN the reasons for the arrests included “criminal damage” and “going equipped with the intention of criminal damage”.


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