Saturday, 12 January 2008

Our tainted coasts

This year has not started very well for me: my reaction to the Government’s announcement of the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations is a feeling of dread. I was brought up near the north Essex coast, and in my teenage years the view from my home across the estuary encompassed Bradwell power station. Though not particularly significant visually, it was in fact a Magnox type nuclear reactor which had been a source of plutonium for use in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. And, as we locals knew, it had a crack in it, so it had been shut down.
I often wonder whether my late father’s cruel and unexpected death from leukaemia was connected with the fact that he used to go sailing in the waters off Bradwell. Because I have learned that it discharged radioactive water used for cooling into the estuary. Radiation causes mutations and mutations cause cancer, geddit?
Now the Government wants to build a new reactor there - in fact lots of them, in lots of places. Our beautiful coasts will be tainted for (in practical terms) ever.
I hope you guys who would rather cause that contamination than confront the nation with its own energy wastefulness, will have a really bad day, in fact lots of bad days, unless and until you change your minds. Have you ever seen someone dying of leukaemia? Try it. Or rather, I hope you won't have to.

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