Socialist Worker

Plymouth march against nuclear dumping

by Tony Staunton, CND national council, and Matt Bradbury
Issue No. 2176

More than 300 protesters marched through Plymouth last Saturday, challenging plans to make the city a dump for waste from nuclear submarines.

Delegations from all over the country joined local people to kick-start this new campaign to Stop the Nuclear Dump.

Ian Avent, organiser of Cansar, the local campaign against nuclear storage, told the rally, “Plymouth will become the Sellafield of the south west if this goes ahead”.

The owners of Plymouth nuclear dockyard, Babcock Marine, are hoping to establish the new facility to cut up radioactive metals, including nuclear reactors, and to store nuclear waste in warehouses.

They would be just metres from two primary schools in a densely populated area.

The schools already have two alarm systems – one for fire and one in case of a nuclear accident in the dockyard.

Campaigners say that breaking up the reactors is extremely dangerous, and has not been done before anywhere in the world.

All other nations store decomissioned nuclear reactors intact. This is the safest way to proceed until scientists find a better solution.


Campaigners have exposed the secret plans, which will net the private operator billions of pounds of profit over the next 40 years.

“Recent reports from the area around the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility prove there is serious radiation contamination, with increased childhood leukaemia and other cancers,” said Dave Webb, vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

“They want to poison Plymouth’s future generations in pursuit of profit.”

The protest, also supported by Stop the War and the local trades council, called for investment in green jobs not nuclear waste in Plymouth.

A message of support from the Vestas wind turbine workers was read out at the rally.

Residents joined the march. One asked, “How can I let my kids grow up near toxic waste?”

The plan would potentially expose a city of 250,000 people to dangerous radiation.

The campaign is calling for a full public inquiry. More information from or email [email protected]

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Article information

Tue 3 Nov 2009, 18:39 GMT
Issue No. 2176
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