Hinkley Point: Anti-nuclear demonstration blocks main road to Somerset complex
The first large-scale anti-nuclear protest in the country for years injected a dash of colour to the misty plain of Hinkley Point as flag-waving demonstrators blocked the main road to the nuclear complex at the weekend.
The protesters, numbering at least 1,000, were joined by environmentalists Jonathon Porritt and Caroline Lucas MP to decry the Government’s plan for more nuclear power stations.
Mr Porritt told the Western Daily Press: “For a lot of people the fact we’re having this debate all over again is unbelievable – clearly this is technology that has nothing to offer people here in the UK or anywhere else in the world. We absolutely don’t need any more nuclear.”
Britain’s only Green Party member of parliament, Caroline Lucas, added: “The Government is trying to bamboozle people into thinking the lights would go out without nuclear – the reality is that it is actually draining resources away from cleaner, greener, safer, cheaper forms of energy that could keep the lights on and our emissions down.”
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On the anniversary of the tsunami which threatened a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan, EDF, the French energy company which operates Hinkley Point and hopes to build the third station, declared the protest a failure.
“We are estimating there are around 400 to 450 protesters in total,” spokesman Gordon Bell said on Saturday. “The protest’s stated aim was to ‘surround’ the power station with ‘thousands’ of people, so they have fallen well short of this aim.
“In fact, more Somerset companies – 800 – have registered with us to work on the project than there are individual protesters from all around the country.”
But organisers declared that more than 1,000 were present, with CND’s general secretary Kate Hudson claiming Saturday’s demonstration could be the start of a new wave of protest against nuclear power generation.
Asked if people in the area had accepted the idea of a new station when faced with concerns about energy supplies, local protester Crispin Aubrey said: “If you look at Japan nearly all their nuclear power stations were closed down after the Fukushima accident, but the economy is still working. Their lights are not going off.”