power is the answer, we need a different
I am writing to you from the dissent climate action group...
The struggle against Nuclear energy is coming to a head, with
world leaders beginning to take action on future oil shortages by
recommending Nuclear as the way forward. Activists across the world
have known for a long time that nuclear only leads to trouble, and
the anti nuclear movement has an inspiring past of actions in
protest of nuclear energy. In Scotland this July the leaders of the
8 most powerful leaders in the world will meet, and continue to
willfully mismanage the situation, promoting nuclear and attemting
to make it sound like an acceptable option.
July the 8th has been called as an International Day of Action
Against the Root Causes of Climate Change. Coinciding with the G8
summit, actions will happen all over the world. This is a very
important time for action against new nuclear energy programmes
which have been on the G8 table as viable options in tackling
climate change. Rather than reducing heavy industry, the G8 leaders
will encourage expensive, dangerous and unreliable projects as
'solutions' to the global problem of climate change.
There have been rumblings about the possibility of a new
generation of nuclear power plants in the UK for some time. In the
days following the re-election of the Labour government, fears
about this programme have been confirmed, with the emergence of a
government memorandum revealing that the government will try to
push through decisions on building more nuclear
plants, in the full knowledge that "it is generally easier to push
through controversial issues early in a new parliament".(Department
of Productivity,Observer UK 09.05.05). Grossly underestimating the
opposition I hope.
As the recent news has shown, the new government will try and
convince members of the public into thinking that nuclear is safe.
This is despite the fact nuclear plants have a history of
accidents, leaks and explosions and that there is no safe way of
disposing of nuclear waste.
It is not just in the UK that nuclear energy is facing a
revival. During 2004 the uranium spot market price exceeded the
benchmark of 20.00 US$/lb U3O8, and since then a frenzy of
acquisitions of innocent tracts of land began, involving many
exploration companies previously not involved in the uranium
business. In India four new uranium mines have been proposed,
one of which helped spark a protest march through Shillong and two
one-day general strikes. Kazakhstan recently disclosed it´s
ambition to become the world´s leading uranium producer by
upping it´s annual production from 3000 to approx 16,000t by
2015. Countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have begun to
start up nuclear plants, some with the support of the US and the
EBRD (European Bank of Reconstruction and Development - public
Pressure from those inside the nuclear industry have influenced
governments to take on an industry already in financial disarray.
In 2004 the World Health Organisation (WHO) once more revised its
provisional guideline value for uranium in drinking water, now from
9 µg/l to 15 µg/l, while the original value had been 2
?g/l. The change once again is not based on new toxicity
data, but on a revision of the allocation of the tolerable daily
intake to drinking water, now from 50% to 80%.
In a clever PR move, the UK Government has flagged up climate
change as an issue to deal with during their G8 presidency, though
most movement to date seems to be pushing nuclear as the only
alternative to fossil fuels. Theclaims the government will use to
make nuclear energy look like a positive move will be that it is a
'green' energy and doesn't produce CO2. The
nuclear cycle is highly energy intensive, with mining, milling,
processing, enrichment, waste and transportation all carbon
intensive. Nuclear plants cannot vary their production to meet
demand, as the reactors must run at a constant rate. Therefore they
cannot aim to cover the world´s full electricity demand.
Even if nuclear energy could meet electricity needs, electricity
production only accounts for a fraction of our CO2 emissions, and
very little has been done so far to discourage other sources of
emissions. Indeed, new roads are built and air-plane fuel is still
not taxed! This will not improve the chances of any state to reach
the targets set by Kyoto. A new nuclear energy
programme might suggest targets can be reached but it will in fact
not cut emissions in the short term, will leave us with a legacy of
dangerous waste, and still in the not too distant future we will
have to deal with the problem of extracting ever more difficult to
utilise uranium. Uranium is a finite substance just as gas, coal
and oil are and good grade uranium has already been depleted. In
the future uranium extraction will be increasingly costly and
carbon intensive to utilise. Sound familiar?
In order to take climate change seriously, we need to take the
bigger picture of our consumption into account. The UK Prime
Minister TonyBlair has refused to encourage 'lifestyle' changes
(The Independent 9th May2005) and it is clear he has no intention
of really tackling climate concerns through industry. The world has
reached its peak of oil and gas extraction,and in the future there
will be massive inequalities in access to fossil fuels which will
forcibly change the lifestyles of everyone on the planet. On the
other hand, renewable energy sources, such as wind, biomass,
solarand mini-hydro, are easy to decentralise and accessible to
individuals and communities, with no need to involve big
corporations. Hydrogen and nuclear energy production is high tech,
and this is why they are easy for governments and corporations to
Nuclear weapon states have a serious dependency on nuclear power
stations in the production of weapons grade plutonium, uranium and
tritium. The UK's nuclear arsenal relies on a constant supply of
tritium as it has to be replaced every 8 years. Chapelcross power
station in Scotland, which is now being decommissioned, has played
a major role in the UK's nuclear weapons programme. Spent fuel can
also be used for "bunker busters", armour piercing anti-tank
munitions, low yield ground impact nuclear weapons....Depleted
uranium shells were used in both Iraqi wars.
The next few months could be crucial for campaigns against the
nuclear industry. The 8th of July is a chance to show not just the
UK government but the other G8 countries and the world's media that
people will not stand for being arm twisted or conned into
accepting a nuclear future.
By taking action in whatever way your campaign feels happy on
the 8th of July, wherever you are, you will support the actions of
other groups and show solidarity with the many indigenous peoples
around the world suffering at the hands of mega corporations who
are destroying their lands and murdering their people for the
fossil fuel industry.
This is a call for anyone involved in resistance to nuclear
energy to speak up on the 8th of July, in the way that you and your
friends work best.You can do this in your home town, or you can
plan something for when you come to Scotland this summer. Dissent
can provide advice on Scottish law, some legal support, and some
ideas on UK nuclear energy companies and
If you do not want to organise your own action there is a
blockade planned for the 4th of July at Faslane in Scotland (part
of a series of well organised mass blockades of the nuclear
military base), and Friends of theEarth has called a noise demo at
Gleneagles on the 7th.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you
would like publicity materials such as postcards or posters about
the day of action. There are also documents on climate change and
the G8 and on exposing the myths and facts about nuclear energy. If
your campaign decides to do something for this day or to do with
the new nuclear energy programme please let us know so we can
inspire others to take action.
Thank you, and good luck!.