Pressure grows in Plymouth over nuclear submarine dump

By staff writers
October 31, 2009

Campaigners are expected to rally in Plymouth today (31 October) to demonstrate against plans for a nuclear waste plant in the city centre.

It is thought that if the plans go ahead, the plant would store dismantled reactor components from the UK's nuclear submarines, possibly for several decades until a long-term disposal site can be constructed.

The issue has caused heated debate in Plymouth for months. The leader of Plymouth City Council, Vivien Pengally, recently added his voice to those opposing the plan.

Some are particularly concerned that the site is only 400 metres from a primary school. There is also concern that both businesses and tourists could be driven away if Plymouth is identified with the dumping of nuclear waste, thus affecting the city's economy.

“This will be risky work never undertaken before in the UK,” explained Dave Webb, Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), “The submarines certainly need to be dismantled - however this should not be in the middle of a city”.

He suggested that “Instead of blighting Plymouth with the reputation of being Britain's only city-centre nuclear dump, the government should invest in a green regeneration strategy for the city, providing long-term sustainable jobs."

The protest is organised by CND with the support of Plymouth Trades Union Congress and local residents. A contingent of workers from the Vestas wind-turbine factory on the Isle of Wight will join the front of the demonstration to highlight the potential for skilled dockyard engineers to form the nucleus of a green energy industry in the city.

Campaigners will use the slogan 'Stop the nuclear dump - for a healthy green city' to highlight the choice facing Plymouth.

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