On the night of 4th October a score of people squatted a field right next to Hinkley Point nuclear power station to set up an Action Camp for 4 days of protests. A giant wooden frame barn structure was erected with a corrugated iron roof together with the usual compost toilet and kitchen. The next day, Police blockaded the road and drove into a truck transporting portable toilets creating a mess all round! The truck driver was mysteriously arrested. On Saturday a march and rally in Bridgewater was attended by hundreds from all over the UK, with visitors from France, Germany and Austria, followed by the almost traditional anti-nuclear "die-in" at the front gates of Hinkley A & B.
Sunday was spent training and plotting and the skillfully erected Rising Tide bungalow tent proved invaluable as a workshop and meeting space, Action and Legal Support and crash space for the 20 or so more who turned up after dark.
From before dawn on Monday 8th October, over 50 people stormed the site earmarked for two new mega nuclear reactors, aiming to highlight the huge environmental and financial costs of the government's bid to build the first of 8 new nuclear power stations in the UK. The protest also highlighted the huge amounts of highly toxic radioactive waste that will be stored on site for over 100 years if the new EPR reactors are built by the french energy giant EDF.
The fence was cut in several places, in some, from top to bottom but many had already scaled the 7 foot perimeter fence and dodged under barbed wire, including a man from Wales in his eighties! Over a hundred fanned out around the 5-mile long fence while others held banners and placards outside the main security gate. A 14-foot banner reading, “Nuclear disaster zone. Boycott EDF” was hung across the gate. The South West coast path, closed by EDF was also reclaimed. By half past ten EDF had issued a Press Release stating something like...we are facilitating peaceful protest and will let the protesters have their day (Rising Tide Translation= "We've given up trying to stop them as there are so many running around inside we can't cope, plus the fence has been cut so many times its now a series of gates"). A man was attacked at the fence by Police and taken to Hospital by ambulance with a suspected broken arm after the cops wouldn't open the road block for our transport.
At 11am a total of 577 seed balls were thrown over (and through holes in) the fence onto the construction area in a symbolic attempt to repair the damage already caused to the flattened land. The seed balls represented the number of days since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan began (which is still developing). After that the mood became relaxed and celebratory. “This is a major victory for the anti-nuclear movement,” said Camilla Berens, spokesperson for the Stop New Nuclear Alliance; "we have been forced to raise the game. We have successfully blockaded the main entrance to Hinkley Point on two occasion in the last year and now we have accomplished a mass trespass (to reclaim the land). Our message today is that we will continue to raise the game”. She continued: “The government’s new nuclear policy is on its knees. Investors are pulling out left right and centre. Even EDF Energy is looking for new partners to fund the Hinkley C project. It’s time to bin nuclear for good and look at countries like Germany that are creating an energy future that is safe, affordable and nuclear-free."
Theo Simon, a member of popular festival beat-combo, Seize the Day, said the arrests proved EDF's claim that they permitted the trespass to take place to be incorrect. “The failure by EDF’s security, G4S, to prevent us from getting onto the site raises serious questions for the future protection of this development should EDF Energy get the go-ahead. Of course, G4S is well acquainted with failure, so perhaps they are now embedding it into their business strategy.”.
By mid-afternoon the successful action was over and the cops liaison officer asked "how many are still on the Camp and when will you be going". The response was "alot and when we're finished". Despite heavy and prolonged rain on Tuesday the camp was cleared and the barn removed but we will continue to support the Stop New Nuclear Alliance oppose new nuclear build and present nuclear operating extensions. This is not the end.