More than 200 people successfully sealed off the main entrance to Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset today (3rd October).
Convoys of protesters began to arrive at the main gate shortly before 7am. The entrance is just yards away from where EDF Energy is making a bid to build two new mega-reactors.
The blockade was launched with the arrival of a theatrical troupe who enacted a nuclear disaster scenario similar to Fukushima. Approximately 70% of protesters are from the South West. Others have come from as far afield as Belgium and Germany.
Well-know festival band, Seize the Day, provided a musical backdrop to the event. Andreas Speck, spokesperson for the Stop New Nuclear alliance said: ‘This is the start of a new movement. We intend this day to be a celebration of resistance against the government and EDF Energy’s plans to spearhead the construction of eight new nuclear power plants around the UK.’
He continued: ‘This is blockade shows that people who understand the true dangers of nuclear power are prepared to use civil disobedience to get their voice heard. The government has hoodwinked the public into believing that we need nuclear power to keep the lights on. But this is totally untrue.’
To show their support for the victims of the Fukushima disaster, protesters will launch 206 helium balloons – to represent the number of days since the partial meltdown at the Japanese power station. The journey of balloons will be tracked to show which areas of the West Country will be worst affected should a major disaster happen at Hinkley Point.
‘We need to bring home to people that nuclear power stations can fail for many reasons – usually because of human error,’ said Nikki Clark from South West Against Nuclear. ‘The explosion at a waste processing plant in France a few weeks ago is a clear reminder that nobody is safe from the dangers of nuclear energy.’
Protesters are urging ministers to look to Germany where the government has pledged to phase out nuclear power within ten years. ‘The German government has just published a blueprint for a sustainable, nuclear-free future,’ said Camilla Berens from campaign group, Kick Nuclear. The key focus is energy reduction and a bridging technology called combined heat and power (CHP). The burning question is, if Germany can do it, why can’t we?’
The blockade was organised by Stop New Nuclear http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk with the support of CND.