More than 100 people came out to take part in the recent open meeting in Woodbridge on Suffolk: Sizewell C & the Environment. And it was immediately clear that local people have not accepted that a new nuclear reactor should be built on Suffolk’s eroding coast, and that the efforts of anti-Sizewell groups are becoming increasingly collaborative and effective.
With high-profile local and national speakers representing both sides of the argument, discussions included climate change, alternative energy options, environmental impact and much more.
No one who was at the meeting – where the chief guest speaker was Baroness Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party in the House of Lords – has the power to give Sizewell C either the red or green light. But their aim was to make the public more aware of an issue that affects all our lives.
Jenny Jones summed nuclear power up as “so incredibly disastrous” as she spoke of the impacts on economic and social justice as well as environmental justice.
“Nuclear energy will be defunct by the time it comes on line,” she said.
Professor Andy Blowers, a former member of the government’s Radioactive Waste Management Committee, added: “You could say that the nuclear industry is facing a slow death.”
Prof Blowers dismissed the notion that nuclear power could provide Britain with fuel security, saying: “Nuclear does not bring self-security – it needs foreign investment, it is vulnerable to terrorism and it requires imported materials and expertise”.
He added: “The renewables revolution is here, it is happening. Nuclear will give us over- production of the wrong sort of energy. The technology is completely inflexible for 30 or 40 years. It displaces other forms of power that we should be investing in”.
Inevitably, fears of a possible East Anglian Fukushima or Chernobyl were raised. “Accidents on a nuclear sphere are normal,” Prof Blowers explained. “They occur every generation and will happen again. The technology is unreliable.”
Local environmentalist and surf photographer Tim Nunn, founder of The Plastics Project, showed some of his astonishing photographs and shared his experience of UK nuclear incidents that are covered up.
He revealed: “I have first-hand experience of turning up at very remote beaches in Scotland and finding them covered with radioactive waste, signs advertising this, and a man walking around in complete white protective clothing. I was in my surf gear. I was scared.”
Discussions regarding local effects from traffic, temporary accommodation for the 2,600 construction workers who would be needed to build Sizewell C, and park-and-ride sites were discussed and experiences shared by long-suffering Leiston residents, who campaigned against Sizewell A and B and are now campaiging against Sizewell C.
One Leiston resident recalled: “We experienced problems of drunkenness and drugs. Young people got into difficulties that had never been in trouble before the construction of Sizewell B.”
Others remarked that similar social effects could very easily occur in Woodbridge or any area hosting such accommodation.
Informed local campaigner Regan Scott explained: “With so much local resistance around Leiston and Wickham Market, 1,000 park-and-ride spaces could now be built at the Woods Lane roundabout at Melton. This would be open 5am-1am, 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Woodbridge – get up and understand what’s going on, find a voice.”
The evening was summed up by Professor Andy Blowers: “Stop arguing about where things are to be located, roads etc. Say NO to nuclear and the whole project. It is not too late.”
24th May 2017