‘I do not believe a single word that issues from the mouth of a single spokesperson for the nuclear industry.’ — JONATHON PORRITT, June 2010.
A couple of weeks ago, campaigners brought rush hour traffic to a standstill to protest against EDF Energy’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. All four lanes of the A302 outside EDF Energy’s headquarters in Grosvenor Place — which just happens to run alongside the gardens of Buckingham Palace — were sealed off shortly after 8am using 14-foot tripods. The cleared zone was then declared a ‘nuclear disaster area’.
Campaign group, Boycott EDF, says the energy giant is spearheading a ‘nuclear renaissance’ which could see the construction of at least ten new nuclear reactors — a move spokeswoman, Bella Benson, claims will spell disaster for the UK.
EDF has spent a massive amount of money marketing itself as an environment-friendly company,” says Benson. “But the truth is that it’s planning to lumber us with an outdated form of energy that is incredibly dangerous, extremely expensive and completely unnecessary. As the company’s HQ Is opposite Buckingham Palace, it would be fitting to call their plan a right, royal rip-off.
EDF has already caused great concern – even before construction of ‘new nuclear’ has started. An independent report published last year found that land designated for EDF’s two new mega-reactors at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Somerset is heavily contaminated with enriched uranium. But EDF has dismissed the report. “With such a hazardous form of energy, best practice must be observed at every stage. We find EDF’s attitude shocking,”
Cheaper, greener alternative strategies have been put forward by respected organisations including Greenpeace, the Sustainable Development Commission and the New Economics Foundation.
Says Benson, “The billions earmarked for new nuclear power stations should be invested in further developing safe forms of energy such as renewables and the type of district heating plants (combined heat and power plants) that can be run on biogas. It’s a scandal that there hasn’t been an informed public debate about this issue.”
The campaign is urging customers of EDF Energy to say ‘no to new nuclear’ by switching to other energy providers. It is also asking the public to boycott events and attractions – such as the London Eye – sponsored by the company.
There are alternatives. Nuclear, as we have seen from the tragedy in Japan, is not a green alternative.
Germany has said no to new nuclear power stations. It is time for the UK to also say no.
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