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Blockade at Sizewell B nuclear power station

climate camp news | 20.08.2007 07:27 | Climate Camp 2007 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Technology | Cambridge | London

A group of five people have locked to concrete blocks in the entrance of Sizewell nuclear power station. They started the action at 7.45am this morning and unfurled a banner reading 'nuclear power is not the answer to climate chaos'.

The protesters have targeted the power station to highlight that nuclear power is no answer to climate change.

Sizewell B nuclear power station is operated by British Energy and is the UK's only large pressurised water reactor. In the first ten years of it's operation it produced about 3% of the UK's electricity. British Energy claim the power station has reduced the amount of greenhouses gases that would otherwised have been released by fossil fuel generation by around 60 million tonnes.

However they have conveniently accounted for only a tiny part of entire production cycle. A large amount of energy (and therefore greenhouse gas emissions) are involved in the mining of uranium ore, it's refining and enrichment and the construction and eventual decommissioning of the nuclear power stations themselves also needs to be factored into the equation.

Last year, during the climate camp near Drax in Yorkshire, protesters blockaded the Hartlepool nuclear power station.

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Hide the following 7 comments

Life Cycle analysis

20.08.2007 10:20

Have you studied any Life Cycle Analysis of nuclear power? There are a number of independent studies from various countries including the UK, USA and Sweden, all show a very low figure of carbon emission comparable to or lower than wind power. Stop spreading this ideologically blinkered misinformation we will need all forms of low carbon power to make any impact on climate change.

Alan Dixon

Re: Lie-Cycle Analysis

20.08.2007 16:45

Alan, nuclear energy is the most expensive and dangerous method of energy production full stop, and it certainly does not have lower carbon emissions than any form of renewable energy.

Nuclear energy has "upstream" and "downstream" CO2 emissions which are uranium mining, enrichment and storage (upstream), and nuclear waste processing, storage, and plant decommissioning (downstream). All of these processes use massive amounts of fuel and thus CO2 emissions. Mining is heavily reliant on oil for fuel, not electricity, so the "carbon neutral" energy from nuclear production cannot be used to fuel this process.

Have you ever considered how much CO2 (never mind money) would be required to guard and protect nuclear waste for 250,000 years?

Nuclear fuel is the most expensive form of energy production. However, this is disguised in the government's and the nuclear industry's statistics because they refuse to include decommissioning costs in the actual cost of electricity, which is considerably higher than any other form of energy production. Historically it has been the tax payer who picks up the tab, thus hiding the burden.

There is also no way we can guarantee the safe storage of this material for 250,000 years. It is ridiculous to state that this is even remotely possible. The decision to go nuclear will burden people born yet with a huge responsibility they had no decision in taking. This is as far removed from a democratic decision as it is possible to get.

Nulcear power stations will increase the background radiation count of our country. This will increase the amount of cancer and leaukaemia deaths in this country, though we will not know by what rate unless it happens. Lets say for arguments sake that 1 person a year dies. Over 250,000 years that is a holocaust. A very slow one, but one none the less. Do you, or anyone have the right to decide whether those people live or die?

The technology for renewable energy sources such as tidal power and wind power are already with us today. The are relatively cheap and effective. We have a huge amount of coast for the land mass of our country. The real reason the government does not want to introduce renewable energy is purely political on two counts:-

1.) They want more nuclear weapons. Trident cannot be financially justified without sharing the cost with a common enrichment infrastructure, and vice versa, nuclear power cannot be justified without such cost sharing either. So there are some nasty strings attached to nuclear power, which could potentially kick start yet another arms race and increase global political instability.

2.) Introducing renewable energy would in all likelihood allow the creation of a distributed power generation system. This would take power generation out of the hands of corporations and put it into the hands of every day people. It would mean a local community could save up and buy a wind turbine and solar panels for low cost and green energy. It would prevent the very same corporations who lobby parliament and fund political parties into power from making a profit. And the goverment hate that idea. They cannot stand the idea of every day people taking control of their own lives and not being dependent on them. If people realised that they could do it for one thing, then they would realise that they could do it for many things. They want us to need them.

Mike D

Stop Third Runway

20.08.2007 17:30

Big up to all Protesters attending the Climate Camp in Sipson, BAA has no concerns for the Environment or life ( Human or Wildlife). Using Terminal 5 BAA will double Air Traffic. People dont know but this will also quadruple Road Traffic too. With T5 open BAA will demolish and rebuild T2 equalling T5. With the new T2 BAA will then quadruple current traffic thereby having 8 times the current Road Traffic. God know what will happen when the remaing 2 terminals T1 and T3 are redeveloped.

This is what the Climate Camp is all about. The Protesters are making people aware that BAA has no concerns but fuck up our environment.

BIG and Well Done to ALL. Long LIve SWAMPY !

Lucky Singh
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Sizewell B action devalues the rest of the campaign

20.08.2007 22:42

In May 1979, two days after Margaret Thatcher first took office, myself and about fifty other people occupied the core of the Toreness nuclear reactor which was under construction at the time, in a protest against nuclear power. I think the reasons for doing this were completely valid then - for one thing there was no need for nuclear power because Britain had plenty of coal mines and 200 years' worth of coal in them.

But twenty-eight years later the situation has changed dramatically. We have climate change, and as a professional engineer, I cannot begin to see how the world can tackle this without a significant input from nuclear power. Fifty years of nuclear power generation in many countries, France in particular which generates 78% of its electricity this way, has shown that well-regulated reactors are extremely safe. The relativley small amount of dangerous waste they generate can be buried deep in the ground close to the reactor, where it will stay forever. The dangers to world peace from climate change and imbalances in access to cheap energy, far outweigh any danger from nuclear technology proliferation.

The Sizewell B action was stupid and ill-informed, and devalues the rest of the campaign.

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Re:Re: Lie-Cycle Analysis

21.08.2007 13:23

Thank you Mike D for the usual recitation of that unsubstantiated nonsense. I could spend more of my time refuting it point by point, especially your paranoid view that it's all a Big Business/Government conspiracy to give us all cancer but I conclude your mind is closed to any scientific challenge to you belief system.


Re:Re:Re: Lie-Cycle Analysis

21.08.2007 17:39

"the usual recitation of that unsubstantiated nonsense." Because, of course, a vague reference to "a number of independent studies from various countries including the UK, USA and Sweden", without any actual references, counts as substantiated?

"I could spend more of my time refuting it point by point". You haven't refuted it at all, in general or point by point. You made an unsubstantiated claim then dismissed anyone who disagreed with you as "paranoid" and someone whose "mind is closed to any scientific challenge to you [sic] belief system."

For an example of the clear and deliberate lies and misinformation that the nuclear industry spouts see the comments from the Sizewell spokesman in response to our action (e.g. in the BBC news clip available from in which he claims that nuclear power "doesn't produce any CO2". Presumably the diggers and other machines involved in uranium mining and extraction run on non-carbon magic pixie dust? (Ditto the oil powered machines used to build it, the hundreds of cars going in and out all day, all the equipment involved in securing and managing the waste for hundreds of thousands of years, etc.)


Can't do any more Re's

21.08.2007 21:03

O.K. Adam and interested others
References: From 2003, Economics are a bit out of date due to Gas price etc.
Sustainable Development Commission. The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy, Paper2
Surely you won't argue with them.

You probably won't like the last two, but I doubt you can produce any corroborated and verifiable figures to counter any of their reports.
250,000 years of cancer holocaust not paranoid? I rest my case.



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