Press release

8 September 2010

Protest at Hinkley Point

Campaigners will protest at Hinkley Point on Sunday lunchtime against plans to destroy many acres of open countryside well in advance of major consents being agreed for two proposed nuclear reactors.

The protest is part of an 'Action Weekend' of activities which includes a day of talks and workshops for campaigners and a disco evening. The Saturday workshop includes national speakers Ben Ayliffe from Greenpeace, Neil Crumpton from the Bellona Institute and formerly Friends of the Earth and Professor Chris Busby of Green Audit.

Stop Hinkley has invited local and regional groups and individuals to demonstrate outside the gates of Hinkley at midday, carrying banners and placards opposing the destruction. Then a guided tour will take place of the green areas which will be bulldozed, dynamited and concreted over, a mock nuclear 'boffin' pointing out the wildlife habitats which will be lost. The tour will finish with a picnic at the shoreline where a new jetty is proposed.

EdF, who propose to build not just one but two giant European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) on the 435 acre site, have already cemented over badger setts on the land (- see attached photos). It is believed that Natural England's licence conditions for blocking the setts have not been met as alternative artificial setts had not been provided alongside the existing ones. Signs alongside the cemented setts seem to imply these were man-made boreholes but their irregular nature and slanted angles suggest otherwise. Stop Hinkley has written to Natural England over this matter.

Concerns over the proposed EPRs include:

  • The scale of the build - similar reactors currently being constructed are single reactors - EdF plan to build two at Hinkley. The site will be four times that of the existing A and B sites combined. The output at 3,200MW will be eight times that of Hinkley A and three times that of Hinkley B, with subsequently high levels of nuclear waste.
  • The EPR uses 'high burn up' fuel which may be more dangerous in operation and will require cooling in secure ponds for 100 years before it can be conditioned for so-called 'disposal'. It will be poisonous for tens of thousands of years. No site has been identified for its eventual 'disposal' and a Hinkley fuel store will hold it for 160 years or indefinitely if no final repository is found. One of the two communities in Cumbria expected to host the repository is due to debate withdrawing its preliminary offer.

  • Adverse health effects near Hinkley have been observed in studies by Prof Chris Busby of Belfast University . These include: three times the average infant mortality in coastal communities from Hinkley to Burnham, six times the national rate of infant deaths, 30 percent extra breast cancer incidence in Burnham, also 25% extra leukaemias in young people (Somerset Health Authorty study 1989)

Concerns about the proposed 'Preliminary Works' include:

  • Removal of the majority of trees and hedges, including ancient woodlands

  • Closure of dozens of existing footpaths and bridlepaths, including the coast path

  • Security fencing round an area of 435 acres, adding to the fenced off A and B stations

  • Stripping topsoil and vegetation to make terraced area for the proposed nuclear reactors. English Heritage says this could destroy ancient buried artefacts

  • New roads built across the site

  • Underground streams re-routed

  • The excavation of more than 3.2 million cubic metres of soil, sub-soil and rocks. This is more than has been excavated to prepare the site for the 2012 London Olympic Games

  • Noise from up to 12,000 vehicle movements per month

  • Construction of new sea wall along the coast

  • Construction of jetty out into the sea

EdF says it will “restore” the site to its original state if it does not receive planning permission for the power station. It is impossible to recreate a landscape that has taken hundreds of years to mature.

Protected Areas and Wildlife Under Threat:

  • The coastline bordering the Hinkley C site is part of the Bridgwater Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Bridgwater Bay 's shallow waters are a sanctuary for thousands of waders, ducks and other sea birds, especially in winter.

  • The site is also bordered by Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and a National Nature Reserve. Bridgwater Bay is designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

  • Bird species found on land in the area include skylark, lesser whitethroat, Cetti's warbler and nightingale.

  • Twelve species of bat frequent the site, including the relatively rare greater and lesser horseshoe varieties.

Stop Hinkley campaign history:

Stop Hinkley has been campaigning against nuclear power for over twenty years, running an office at the Cannington public inquiry over Hinkley C in 1988-89 and holding many demonstrations at the time. Hinkley Point A was shut down prematurely in 2000 following a concerted Stop Hinkley campaign against the health effects of the power station and engineering defects in the reactors. BNFL chief Norman Askew admitted the shut-down was because of a loss of public confidence due to the campaign. Potentially dangerous cracks in Hinkley B's reactor core have also been highlighted by the group who are still pursuing a year-long Freedom of Information Act request on why the reactor only has two instead of three shut-down systems.

Jim Duffy from Stop Hinkley said: "We're highlighting the fact this plan to prepare for two giant reactors will be devastating for wildlife and is completely premature. EdF are a long way from getting their major consents for the project. They should back off from nuclear and concentrate on saner energy forms like renewables. We welcome people who agree to come and join us at the protest."

Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator, 07798 666756



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Page Updated 09-Sep-2010