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Monday
Apr292013

Beyond Nuclear concludes successful UK visit 

Beyond Nuclear’s Paul and Linda Gunter recently returned from England where they met with and briefed UK nuclear experts and spoke to activist groups. The UK government is eager to build 10 new reactors. However, the premise for such “need” was based on a gross misrepresentation of actual anticipated demand as was exposed by a groundbreaking report - A Corruption of Governance.

Paul and Linda spoke to a packed town hall in Glastonbury, Somerset, not far from the Hinkley nuclear power station where French electricity giant, Électricité de France (EdF), is attempting to build two of its unpopular (and in the US, failed) Evolutionary Power Reactors (EPR). The Beyond Nuclear presentation informed and inspired the audience, generating new members of the Stop Hinkley alliance.

Similarly, in Leiston, Suffolk, Paul and Linda addressed a full town hall at an event organized by Together Against Sizwell C (TASC), Shut Sizewell and Friends of the Earth, Suffolk coast. They helped mobilize new support for efforts to stop construction of an EPR at the Sizewell site, situated on a rapidly eroding beach, which, like Hinkley, is home to one operating and one shuttered reactor. Beyond the horizon from that beach lies the inspiring Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm whose control room Beyond Nuclear was welcomed into (with no need for security measures and pictured below right) The wind farm, where fishing is prohibited, has created a marine sanctuary, while local fishermen have found employment piloting the transport boats to and from the array.

EdF is endeavoring to score a “strike price” from the UK government - that would provide the company with a guaranteed price at which the UK would buy electricity from nuclear plants to be built by EdF. EdF wants at least 100 pounds ($150) per megawatt-hour (MWh) which would dramatically raise UK electricity prices and is tantamount to a subsidy, something the UK government claims to be opposed to. The “negotiations” continue to drag on, with the latest news being that EdF has signed a deal with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., (all EdF’s previous UK partners in British reactor projects have walked away). But while speculation is rife that the Chinese might invest in Hinkley, EdF has been laying off workers at the site, an indication that talks are not going well.

In addition to activists meetings, Paul and Linda met with nuclear experts, Dr. Paul Dorfman, Dr. Ian Fairlie, Dr. David Lowry and Dr. Stephen Thomas. They also participated in a large rally organized by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) outside the 7 gates of the Aldermaston nuclear weapons complex where Linda spoke.