Warm socks v Hot Nukes

Hinkley Tree Action Update

Overnight on February 6th, anti nuclear activists occupied trees on EDF’s proposed new nuclear site west of Hinkley Point in Somerset. This was in response to intial ground-clearance work being carried out by contractors the day before.

Although EDF have subsequently said that the work being done was only the clearing of dead elms, this is undoubtedly the first stage in preparing for major clearance, since EDF have now been given the go-ahead to begin reducing this beautiful piece of Somerset coastline to a lunar landscape. They are being permitted to do this even though it will be 12 months before they will know if they have planning permission for the 2 new nuclear reactors and a radioactive waste dump. They obviously think this is a done deal!

In response to media interest today, including BBC TV Points West, Somerset Sound and Radio 4, and the Western Daily Press, EDF have also claimed that this stand of oak is not scheduled to be felled as part of the so-called “Preliminary Works”. However, WSDC Planning Officer Andrew Goodchild has confirmed that this is untrue, and ALL vegetation within the site will have to be cleared in the next 4 to 6 weeks under the aptly named “Phase Zero”. The nesting season won’t be a big problem though, as they have a special license from “Natural England” to destroy the feathered songsters homes. It seems they have a special license for just about anything!

Money talks, but actions talk louder. The gallant folk who took command of the situation have acted pre-emptively and spontaneously and are currently few in number. They are in a net off the ground and “just about” warm enough. They need ground support – people to just visit them with treats, flasks, and warm words – which will also help defend them by keeping everything in the public eye. A video camera would be extremely helpful, and maybe more phones. RIGHT NOW THEY NEED A DELIVERY OF WARM SOCKS.

Other people may decide to prepare for joining them, either in trees or in tents. Currently access is by Public Right of Way. See Google maps TA5 1UD. These particular trees are near the existing nuclear site and run down to the beach.

Today they have been observed by the mobile security (who patrol the planned site in landies, but have no power to remove people walking through). They have been visited by a pleasant local copper who said they are doing nothing illegal at present, but he’d warn them if they do. This could be if they prevented work (Aggravated Trespass). They have also been visited and photographed by 10 men in blue hard-hats, whose purpose was not clear, and did not communicate. Possibly management and security assessing the situation. Again, people on the ground and local observers could help in these situations. There is one permanent security observer on foot, at least in daylight.
There is now a mobile wood-chipper and a storage area for the contractors nearby, but of course they could always decide to clear other stands of trees and hedgerows elsewhere on the site while these trees are occupied. The Planning Officer seemed to think that it would be several weeks before the serious clearing work begins.

EDF will try and spin this away from hard talk and keep it all friendly and “respecting concerns” while telling lies to deflect attention from the biggest lie of all: That we HAVE to choose nuclear, and that it’s ok to leave it to future generations to clear up our toxic crap. Meanwhile they are off somewhere planning furiously how to deal with the new scenario. No doubt they have contingency plans in place, but if people stay fluid, determined and clever they can be outwitted. Whatever happens over the next few days, the battle over this ground and our right to a democratic say in what happens there has now begun. There will be setbacks and frustrations, but if we take the lead from these fellows in the trees, we can maybe achieve something quite unexpected. Over to you. Bring socks.

For a video diary of the threatened land visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWp_ut-Uya4


3 Responses to “”

  1. Tim Salter Says:

    Thank you.

  2. Chris Blundell Says:

    I have been puzzling over this and you have summed up the gist of what I feel. I think especially that the future is a big field and is beyond the realm of the political tussle which aims to take centre stage. I think that a continuance, (or in perspective a resumption) of our historical reliance on energy from a solar source gives us a necessary limit on what we should use, this is a healthy state of affairs and better not undermined by fission or fusion! Fossil fuel ultimately of course must be used less and less, hopefully by conscious choice, but certainly by it’s increasing costs and the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels. I think also that it is naive to expect increasing nuclear output to stop the oil industry from doing the only thing they presently know how to do – maximise lucrative oil production. In the question of what we are looking towards in the future I believe your thoughts come across a like beacon Theo. Thank you.

  3. Keep up the great work. I suppose you know Ian fairlie’s site at http://www.ianfairlie.org/2013/01/ has great info on very low level radiation? Hope you don’t mind if I pass on a post I made to the Guardian re James Hansen’s pro-nuclear open letter yesterday…..


    cjmurray commented on Top US climate scientists support development of safe nuclear power.04 Nov 2013 12:36am

    I admire James Hansen greatly. Unfortunately, he seriously underestimates deaths from nuclear power, even agreeing with the unscientific distortion currently fashionable among the gullible that Chernobyl only caused 43 deaths. While this may the number that can be absolutely, conclusively, epidemiologically PROVED to have been caused by Chernobyl, it is grossly misleading to present this as the final total. Given that Chernobyl-induced cancers are indistinguishable from those naturally occurring, and that hundreds of millions will die naturally of cancer in the affected areas over the coming decades, it is no surprise that it is difficult to find even tens of thousands of cancers epidemiologically (ie through studying reported cancer deaths), especially in impoverished countries that support nuclear power, and that have no interest in funding the large-scale studies required.

    Hence, risk estimates, extrapolated mainly from the LSS study of A-bomb survivors in Japan, are necessary. Even the risk-estimates from the scientific establishment in ICRP/UNSCEAR/WHO etc. point to tens of thousands of fatal cancers from Chernobyl. In fact, the 2008 UNSCEAR report specifically referenced by Hansen clearly states that “Although the numbers of cancers projected to be induced by radiation exposure from the accident are very small relative to the baseline cancer risk, THEY COULD BE SUBSTANTIAL IN ABSOLUTE TERMS” (My emphasis – even a “very small” increase in baseline risk of say 1%, could result in 10,000 cancers among a population of 5 million, assuming baseline cancer mortality of 20%). An earlier UNSCEAR report estimated 9,000 fatal cancers from the most affected areas of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine alone. The 43 figure is maybe three orders of magnitude out. Hansen has been misled. His figures on nuclear deaths are built on the nuclear industry’s sand.

    It is a tragedy that, at a time when humanity was moving away from nuclear power, when acid rain and ozone depletion had been dealt with, when environmental awareness was growing, when science and governments and the public were moving to a consensus on AGW, that just when a vitally necessary united front was beginning to form in order to combat climate catastrophe, when there was actually a possibility that society might finally grow up a bit and realise that we cannot keep expanding in a finite world and need to live responsibly and within our environmental means, that the nuclear poison industries saw their chance and took it. They couldn’t give a damn about AGW. They probably don’t really believe in it, seeing it merely as an opportunity to peddle the nuclear dinosaur. So every time AGW is mentioned now, up pops someone plugging nukes and chanting the “43 deaths from Chernobyl – UNSCEAR said so!” mantra for all he’s worth. They have succeeded in brainwashing naïve journalists and scientists, in fatally splitting the environmentalist movement, and, intentionally or not, giving a confused public the impression that nothing need really be done about AGW, that nuclear will ride to the rescue and that the planet-guzzling party can continue forever. If the nuclear industries get their way, trillions of euros will be diverted from renewables and energy conservation, and wasted building thousands of nuclear poison plants, many of them for corrupt, corner-cutting dictatorships with an eye on getting nuclear weapons. Just what we need when climate catastrophe really hits.

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