On 27 April, we will gather at the Springfields nuclear site in Lancashire, the dark heart of the nuclear industry, to highlight the need for action on the twin fronts of new nuclear generation and radioactive waste disposal.
Nuclear power has never lived up to the promise of cheap energy for all, but the costs have included displacement and sickness to nearby communities, contamination of land and water resources and a build up of 70 years’ worth of nuclear waste.
In the UK, the costs of nuclear developments have been borne by the taxpayer. Under the 'Contracts for Difference' scheme (a government regulatory regime for supporting low-carbon electricity generation), bills for electricity from the new plant at Hinkley C will be twice what we currently pay. This does not cover the costs of accidents, which are underwritten by the government. Nuclear plants typically run over-time and over-budget.
The government's consultation about burying nuclear waste has come to an end, kicking off a five-year search for a willing host community with 'suitable' ground conditions. We are presented with two options: leave the waste in crumbling storage facilities like Sellafield; or bury it and let it contaminate the environment. In Scotland, new surface-level management facilities are being built but in England this is deemed too expensive. It is clear that we need a solution to managing the waste before we create more of it.
Nuclear power has never lived up to the promise of cheap energy for all
Springfields is where nuclear fuel is produced for both civil and military use, and waste processed from both the UK and abroad. 'Surround Springfields' is an opportunity to follow the route of radioactive waste and to understand how this issue affects everyone, everywhere.
We will even be dressing as barrels of waste in an attempt to break a world record for surrounding a nuclear site. We will also be having a live conversation with indigenous people in other countries via a webinar about the impacts of uranium mining and nuclear waste. You can join this remotely if you cannot get there – check the No New Nuclear Facebook page for details.
Do we choose a long term, socially responsible and ethical energy supply, with a moral commitment to the wellbeing of future generations? We need to come together and ensure that government approaches these challenges with vision and creativity, not with the poverty of ambition, opacity and lack of foresight that characterises the nuclear solution.
Surround Springfields will take place on Saturday 27 April. For more information, visit the Stop New Nuclear website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org