Calling all Britons–one day left to oppose nuclear power!

If you don’t want the latest generation of nuclear reactors in your backyard (or the French to build them), then lodge your protest by tomorrow! It’s not just the Golden Anniversary of Britain’s biggest nuclear disaster, but also the end of public consultation on the more or less inevitable future of Britain’s nuclear program.

In 2006 Her Majesty’s Government released an Energy Review: “The Energy Challenge” wherein “We have concluded that new nuclear power stations would make a significant contribution to meeting our energy policy goals.” (P.17 of the Executive Summary) In notes to the press, it was recalled that “We published our view as the basis for a consultation and are currently analysing responses. However, given the comprehensive analysis we undertook before reaching this view, we expect to confirm this as our final policy in the Energy White Paper this year.”

That this conclusion was a bit premature became apparent when on 15 February 2007 the High Court in London ruled in a case brought against the government by Greenpeace that its “decision to approve plans for new nuclear power plants was illegal because public consultations were flawed.”[1] As a result, the public consultations were extended, with work on the planned White Paper continuing in parallel. Despite the setback, the government stuck to its guns, with Blair telling the BBC that “This won’t affect policy at all”[2] and declaring that the government “will still press forward with plans to publish draft proposals about its energy policy next month.”[3]

In May 2007 the government followed through on its promise and published its Energy White Paper, recognizing in classic understatement “that this is a complex issue, in which there is significant public interest” while reminding the masses that “Energy is an essential part of everyday life in the UK.” (P.180)

In September 2007 the government flashed its piety to its peers, declaring at the IAEA General Conference that “the consultation process is not yet complete, and so it would be premature and wrong for me to speculate on its conclusions. The consultation period, during which the United Kingdom Government has committed itself to listening to all views, runs until October 10.”

Well, it’s a bit late in the day on October 9, but there’s still time to join the ranks of the Birkenstock faction and give one last mighty protest before Brown’s government goes ahead and completes Blair’s business.


 

[1] “Britain forced to rethink nuclear power plans” by Michael Thurston, AFP, February 15, 2007

[2]“Blair defiant over nuclear plans” by BBC, February 15, 2007.

 

[3] “Greenpeace Wins Review of U.K. Nuclear Energy Plans” by Megan Murphy and Paul Dobson, Bloomberg, February 15, 2007

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