Local Democracy Dumped!

As government ends flawed consultation on nuclear power, anti-nuclear power activists step up resistance and blockade Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk, England.

Since 6.40am this morning, anti-nuclear power activists from the ‘People Power not Nuclear Power Coalition’ [1] have been blockading Sizewell power station in protest against the flawed government consultation on nuclear new build, which ends today, and the dumping of local democracy.

Sizewell is one of ten sites nominated for nuclear new build; and, together with Hinkley in Somerset, one of the two most likely sites for one of the first new nuclear reactors to be built by EDF Energy.

In preparation for new nuclear reactors, the government introduced the 2008 Planning Act [2] to limit the local planning procedure to relatively unimportant matters, and centralise siting and nuclear design decision on the national level. Today, the seriously flawed consultations end on the National Policy Statements for energy, including nuclear power, [3] designed to give the go ahead for ten new nuclear power stations in the UK.

“In order to build new nuclear power stations, government dumped local democracy”, Mell Harrison, 38 from Geldeston and a campaigns worker for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said.

“We are blockading Sizewell today, to show that the government will not achieve its aim to fast track nuclear power. If local democracy is dumped, then nonviolent direct action will be our answer. Any new build will be met with resistance, and this blockade today is just the beginning.”

She continued:

“The government and the nuclear industry present nuclear power as low carbon energy and a necessity to combat climate change; but nuclear power is dangerous, expensive and does not deliver any significant reductions in carbon emissions. It locks us into a centralised energy system, and is part of the problem of climate change, not part of the solution.”

“Chipper”, 44, a male activist from Stop Hinkley added:

“The government and the nuclear industry approach the problem of nuclear waste with wishful thinking, as the conclusion of the National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation shows.” [4]

Andreas Speck, 45, from London, originally from Germany, added:

“Just to wish away the problem of nuclear waste is highly irresponsible. Spent nuclear fuel is highly toxic and remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Here at Sizewell, a new dry storage facility is planned, to store spent fuel rods for more than 100 years in casks. However, how long these last is unknown, and problems with similar casks at Gorleben in Germany after only a few years show that this is no solution. There is no final safe storage [for high level radioactive waste] in existence anywhere in the world. The responsible thing to do is to shut down all nuclear power stations immediately and stop producing yet more nuclear waste.” [5]