Wednesday 18th July 2014, activists from Kick Nuclear
leafletted the “NUCLEAR INDUSTRY FORUM”
at: 1 Whitehall Place, London SW1
08.15 – 09.15am
Nearest tube: – Embankment.
This is the text which was given to the Forum delegates as they went in to the building:-
Last days of a dinosaur industry
We have gathered here again in front of your Nuclear Industry Forum to again try to warn you that you walk the false path. Your industry, the nuclear power industry, was able to get started on the back of the west’s nuclear bomb programmes in the fifties, based on assuring the public that you would keep the radioactive by-products of splitting uranium separated from the environment. This you have consistently failed to do, having lost control of your deadly machines at 3 Mile Island, Tschernobyl, and now three more at Fukushima. Wikipedia talks of 21 meltdowns; that’s one every 2.7 years. And with each meltdown you lot claim to now be safer because you’ve learnt something more. Well, you didn’t tell us that the plan was to develop safety through trial and error, and we are not impressed with your efforts.
The public don’t see why they should be taking such a huge risk, the risk of losing huge chunks of their country, (as in Ukraine and in Japan), just to get electricity that is available risk-free from other sources, like solar and wind. Especially since the alternatives are becoming cheaper than your nukes. In the case of Japan, whose Fukushima plants are showing themselves to be impossible to control, and which are throwing 400 tons a day of radioactive water into the sea for three years now, we humans are facing the prospect of not just losing some land in Japan, but of losing the Pacific Ocean itself. The nuclear industry in Japan has shown itself incapable of even admitting they have a large, stinking mess on their hands, sending us all on a compulsory experiment in the long term effects of genetic manipulation through radioactivity.
Nor does the public see why they should give more free rein to an industry that for 60 years has claimed it would solve the problem of what to do with its waste in a few years time, yet which is nowhere near coming up with any solution. You have 148,000 Metric Tons Heavy Metal waste, ie. old fuel rods, sitting round mostly in swimming pools in the nuclear power stations that produced them, promising to come up some day soon with a way to separate them for ever from the environment. Which you can not do on a tectonically active planet. Your schemes to bury them in salt underground have just hit the wall in New Mexico, where a little ‘release’ of plutonium from one or several exploding barrels of waste have made it likely that the Waste Isolation Pilot Project will never reopen. And the WIPP disaster has revealed the dishonest behaviour of your industry; you are not allowed to dispose of liquid waste in WIPP so you threw in some kitty litter to absorb liquid and labelled it solid waste. And now you’ve switched from mineral based kitty litter to wheat based, ‘because it’s greener’, (or cheaper?), and the nitrate salts in the waste have reacted with the cellulose in the wheat kitty litter, blowing open a barrel or three. So the other 300-odd barrels of the same mix are also timebombs that could ‘release’ more plutonium etc. at us at any time. Of course your experts will say there’s no danger, but we’re tired of listening to them pedal excuses. You claimed that this stuff would be separated from the environment for all time; your experts assuring us that the latest ‘small release’ is OK are no longer interesting. There was meant to be none.
And now you need billions off the taxpayer to build your latest toy in Hinkley Point. Which will supply 3.2 Gw by 2023, by your rosy estimates. When the UK has installed 2.7 Gw of new solar installations in 2012 alone. At a strike price estimated to drop to £100 MW/h by 2018, by which time your index-linked nuclear strike price for Hinckley Point will be way north of £100. And when on-shore wind in the UK has TODAY a strike price of £80 MW/h. So by your own logic, the logic of the market place, your industry is dead. Already more expensive than on-shore wind, soon to be more expensive than off-shore wind and solar, and producer of huge stores of undisposable waste, that has to be guarded for ever at great cost. Not to mention the risk that if it has a bad day, a nuke power station will destroy a third of your country. All for what? So a few businessmen can continue to have expensive lunches and wear £300 shirts?
But what really gets us grumpy is the dishonesty and the political manipulation when something does go wrong. In Japan, they have just had the biggest industrial accident in the history of the world. Fukushima. But instead of admitting the magnitude of the problem they are in full denial, saying that ‘all the contamination is contained in the harbour’, that ‘no-one’s health has been affected by Fukushima’, etc. Denial, so that they can restart their other 48 nuclear plants, because they are worth a lot of money. So money comes before public health and before honesty.
We the public have had enough. And think; your industry will affect your kids too. They have found plutonium in the teeth of every UK kid. Lots more of us humans die of cancer these days than died of cancer before the atom was split. Your kids will be eating this food, drinking this water. We only have one Pacific Ocean, and it leads eventually to the English Channel. There are, for radioactivity, no borders, and no gated communities to escape it.