Category: Archive

Anti-Sellafield campaign gaining steam

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — More than a million “Shut Sellafield” postcards will be delivered to Prince Charles, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Norman Askew, the head of British Nuclear Fuels, this week.

The huge mailbag will be the culmination of a protest initiated by Ali Hewson, wife of U2 star Bono, who has been patron of the Chernobyl Children’s Project for the last seven years.

The cards will tumble through the British mailboxes on Friday — the 16th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, when a nuclear reactor in Ukraine released an estimated 150 million curies of radioactivity into the air.

More than three million people were exposed to high does of radiation by the disaster, including 700,000 people who volunteered to clear up the site but who were given insufficient protection against the high levels of radiation.

Since the campaign to shut Britain’s Sellafield nuclear processing facility was launched by Hewson, it has been endorsed by many Irish sporting celebrities, singers and entertainers.

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They include the Corrs, the Cranberries, Ronan Keating, Samantha Mumba, Ronnie Drew, Linda Martin, comedian Brendan O’Carroll and former world billiards champion Ken Doherty.

The deadline for lodging cards with the post office had been last Friday but this was brought forward to Tuesday.

The card to Prince Charles has a view of the country with “Greetings from Ireland” and a radioactive warning logo on it.

Blair will be getting a card with a green eye on it saying, “Tony, look me in the eye and tell me I’m safe,” and Askew’s card has an illustration of a mouth with the caption “Tell us the truth.”

An Post has defended its support for the postcard campaign, pointing out its main shareholder — the Irish government — is also opposed to Sellafield and wants it shut.

A spokesman said that, regardless, it is a commercial company and has the freedom to support organizations, causes or initiatives whether politically correct or otherwise.

Hewson said she had always felt strongly about Sellafield.

“It is 60 miles away from the Irish coast,” she said. “It is pumping two million gallons of radioactive liquid waste into the Irish Sea every day, making the Irish Sea the most radioactive sea in the world.

“If an accident happens at the plant, or if there is a terrorist attack, depending on which way the wind blows, Dublin, Dundalk, Drogheda, Belfast and vast parts of Ireland, would be uninhabitable. Forever.”

She compared Ireland to Belarus, which was seriously hit by the fallout from Chernobyl, which is in neighboring Ukraine.

“Belarus is like Ireland in many respects,” she said. “Like Ireland, they did not ask for a nuclear plant to be built beside them, but when the accident happened at Chernobyl in the Ukraine, the wind blew 70 percent of the fallout onto Belarus.

“If an accident happens at Sellafield, that is exactly which could happen to us.”

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