Flotilla against new Bradwell nuclear reactor sails on Essex coast

On Sunday, 9 August, a flotilla of 20 boats, many with colourful banners saying ‘Save the Blackwater estuary and ‘No to new nuclear’ and flying yellow and white sheets from their masts, sailed from West Mersea and other locations on the Blackwater to Bradwell. The 50 or so sailors on board were protesting against the new nuclear power station and highly radioactive nuclear waste store proposed for the Bradwell site.

Several of the boats sailed along the West Mersea shore in front of protesters and holiday makers before heading over to Bradwell and anchoring in front of the old station.

Some of the sailors landed on the Bradwell beach and asked those who were there enjoying the beautiful weather to sign the BANNG (Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group) petition. The petition asks the Government to reject the proposal to build a new station and demands that the old station site be returned to greenfield within 25 years of closure, as originally proposed, and not the 100 years it is reported it will now take.

Varrie Blowers, the Secretary of BANNG said: ‘We believe that what is proposed would have a detrimental impact on the environment and marine ecology of the vulnerable Blackwater estuary, particularly on its oyster, fish and huge overwintering bird populations. The estuary is a beautiful amenity which is enjoyed by sailors and members of the public alike. All those who love and fear for the Blackwater need to protest at these proposals.

BANNG believes that the Bradwell site is particularly unsuitable for a new nuclear power station and waste store. As well as being on a shallow estuary, it is liable to flooding and increased incidence of storm surges as a result of climate change. We are particularly opposed to the production of yet more highly radioactive spent fuel which would have to be stored on site for more than 100 years, when there is not even a solution in prospect for dealing with the wastes that already exist’.

Charles Clark, who organised the vigil, said: ‘The vigil is the second in a series of protests organised by BANNG. The first, before Easter, drew attention to the impossibility of evacuating Mersea Island in the event of a nuclear incident. The purpose of Sunday’s vigil was to draw attention to the potential impact of the proposals on the Blackwater estuary itself. We were very pleased with the turnout of boats and sailors and the positive reaction of people on the Bradwell beach to the petition’.

For further information about BANNG and the petition contact Varrie Blowers (Tel.: 07932.644482).

We want to highlight:

* Environmental damage to the Estuary foreshore, wildlife, pleasure and commercial fishing and local oyster industries
* Potential restriction on access for recreational use to the Estuary and its foreshore
* Long term on site storage of highly radioactive waste
* Increased health risks to surrounding population resulting from toxic waste and from the lack of long term evacuation plans for the surrounding areas
* Negative Visual impact of the new facility and the retention of the former station