Plymouth politicians pledge opposition to nuclear waste factory

By staff writers
October 22, 2009

Campaigners have given a warm welcome to news that local politicians in Plymouth are to oppose plans for a nuclear waste factory in the centre of their city.

Plymouth Council leader, Vivienne Pengelly, promised yesterday (21 October) to challenge the nuclear dump at Plymouth's Devonport Dockyard. Her statement comes ahead of a major protest planned for Saturday 31 October.

"At last the local politicians are waking-up,” said Kate Hudson, chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), “But this is not enough. The people of Plymouth need assurances that there will be no nuclear waste facility."

Local CND campaigners and environmentalists have campaigned for years against the dangers of the nuclear dockyard in a city of 250,000 people.

"With our nearest primary school just 400 metres from radioactive contamination, there is outrage locally at Plymouth becoming the national centre for storing nuclear waste from obsolete submarines” said Tony Staunton, secretary of Plymouth Trades Union Council.

“The private owners, Babcock Marine, hope to make billions in profits from contaminating our city for the next hundred years” he added.

The Ministry of Defence has called an emergency meeting for tomorrow (23 October), in an attempt to reassure local politicians and the Chamber of Commerce who are also concerned that the nuclear dump will prevent regeneration of Plymouth as a waterfront city.

Campaigners are concerned that the meetings are intended to give an appearance of consultation in place of a meaningful democratic process.

Hudson said that there had been “a culture of secrecy” over the issue and insisted that a nuclear factory should not be cited in Plymouth without a full public inquiry.

CND has urged the MoD to ensure full participation from local campaign groups, environmentalists and trades unions in any discussions about the nuclear waste plans.

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