West country members of the Stop Nuclear Power Network are urging people to join them in a protest at a Government public consultation meeting they brand as undemocratic, which will discuss the Government’s revised draft National Policy Statements on energy infrastructure (1) – they include the role of nuclear power in the UK’s future energy mix. The event is one of only three that will take place around the country.
"This so-called public meeting is highly undemocratic and has all the hallmarks of the secrecy (2) the nuclear industry is renowned for," said Nikki Clark, a campaigner who lives near Hinkley Point in north Somerset. "It has not been widely publicised and only 100 people have been allowed to attend."
The protest will take place this Monday (29th) outside the Armada House Conference and Events, Armada House, Telephone Avenue, Bristol at 1pm.
Local Stop Nuclear Power Network campaigners argue that the consultation does not acknowledge that nuclear power is dangerous, undemocratic and unaffordable.
"The high-level waste from nuclear power stations cannot be safely stored in the long term," said Nikki. "The Government has no clue how to deal with it - except for deep geological storage, a method that is deeply flawed, leaving the problem for future generations to deal with."
"Nuclear power originated as a way of producing material for atomic weapons and has never lost its link with the arms industry and war,” added Nikki. “Depleted uranium from the nuclear cycle is used in weapons that cause cancers and birth defects in places like Iraq and Bosnia."
Nikki said the Bristol meeting is being held during the daytime, making it difficult for working people to attend. Scheduled for two and a half hours, campaigners say the event will not allow enough time for attendees to question the extensive range of documents included in this consultation (a staggering 168 documents in total - of which 148 relate to the Government's plans for new nuclear.)
The campaigners say the true costs of producing energy from nuclear have never been honestly calculated and put before the public: for instance, they say the costs of decommissioning (at least £70bn for the existing reactors) are not included.
"This consultation exercise is a sham. The Government has no interest in what we have to say. It’s simply a box-ticking exercise so that it can avoid legal challenges in the future," said Nikki.
Susan Newland, another member of the Stop Nuclear Power Network, said, "We are going to be protesting about the Government’s proposal to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, starting with Hinkley Point."
"This proposal, if carried through, will pose a threat to our health and that of future generations. Nuclear power stations will poison the environment with radioactive waste and emissions. Even if the Government says it will not use public subsidies for the next generation of power plants, you can be sure the public will be paying for it one way or another."
Nikki added, "Caroline Lucas, our only Green MP, has slammed nuclear new build as unsafe and unnecessary.(4)( 5) We say it's a strategy the British people simply can't afford."
Photo opportunity for attendees of meeting between 1:00 – 1:30pm
Further photo opportunities outside the venue at 4:30pm.
1. Power trip (article by Paul Dorfman on Government consultation in 2007)
2. Brown given drubbing over nuclear (Greenpeace UK)
3. Sustainable Development Commission position paper
4. Caroline Lucas on new nuclear
5. Nuclear power is not the solution to climate change - Pete Roche, Nuclear-Free Local Authorities, 2005
(Last modified: 26 Nov 2010, 23:34)