As we enter our thirty-ﬁrst year as an organisation campaigning against nuclear power, there has never been a more appropriate time to remind Ourselves why our Campaign remains so important. Over several years, the Campaign hasbeen meeting with the UK nuclear regulators, and it has been lobbying Ministers and MP3 concerning safety regulations in the nuclear industry. In Europe the safety standards are far more robust, based on a ‘severe nuclear accident however unlikely’, rather than in the UK adopting the lower standard of a ‘reasonable foreseeable accident’. The Campaign recently met with the Minister responsible for Civil Contingencies: Ben Gummer MP, who has since referred the matter to his colleague Iesse Norman, who is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We still await a reply, but we will persevere, until this quite irresponsible discrepancy is formally addressed in the UK.
Elsewhere in the world, the nuclear power crisis deepens with the US’ Westinghouse nuclear giant filing for bankruptcy; the cost of the Fukushima clean-up and compensation increasing to $195 billion, and nearer to home, Hinkley Point, being funded by ‘illegal French Aid’, according to a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace. EDF, the French state-owned energy company that is building the new plant at Hinkley, was awarded another 3.8 billion Euros by President Macron, when he was energy minister, despite the fact that EDF is struggling with debts of more than 37 billion Euros with the requirement to ﬁnd another 50 billion Euros to upgrade its French reactors.
It is no surprise then that as a Campaign we are re-doubling our efforts to ensure that Sizewell C will never become a reality. Recently, Baroness Jenny Jones of the Green Party addressed an audience in Woodbridge emphasising the far safer and far cheaper renewable sources that are available. Renewable energy is not only making huge advances across the world, but in May this year Switzerland became the latest country to get rid of nuclear power. In a referendum, Swiss voters approved a plan that will eventually phase out all nuclear power use. Instead, the country will focus on increasing its dependence on renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power.
Nuclear power is quite simply unaffordable, dangerous and environmentally unsound. In the UK, there have been major concerns about the spiralling costs of decommissioning, with allegations of collusion in the tendering process, and at Hinkley Point, France is propping up an energy company that is facing collapse with its shares falling. The new Ecology Minister in France: Nicholas Hulot, is also likely to press EDF to reduce its dependency on nuclear power, and invest in the development of renewable energy.
The ‘Shut Down Sizewell Campaign’ will continue to robustly oppose nuclear energy, and to devote its time, energy and resources to preventing Sizewell C ever being built on our increasingly vulnerable Suffolk coastline.