Best foot forward: Campaigners are marching again for a Nuclear Free Wales
Campaigners from anti-nuclear campaign groups in Wales and beyond will be pulling on their walking boots to march the 44 miles (72 kms) from Trawsfynydd to the Eisteddfod at Boduan next month in support of a nuclear free Wales.
The march is being organised by CND Cymru (the Wales Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), CADNO (the Society for the Prevention of Everlasting Nuclear Destruction) and PAWB (People against Wylfa . The marchers will also receive the full support of the Welsh Nuclear Free Local Authorities which are equally opposed to the plans being hatched in Westminster and Cardiff to redevelop new nuclear plants at inland Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd and at the coastal Wylfa site in Ynys Mon (Anglesey).
Since former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in April of last year his ill-judged intention to develop 24 gigawatts of nuclear power generating capacity in the UK by 2050, at Trawsfynydd, the Welsh Government has established a new company, Cwmni Egino, to attract inward investment in nuclear, whilst at Wylfa, following the abandonment of a nuclear power plant plan led by the Horizon consortium in 2021, a British government minister and the local Member of Parliament have both been courting US nuclear operators Bechtel and Westinghouse to bring their large reactors to the island.
There has also been persistent agitation within the nuclear industry, the media, and most recently from Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee to bring so-called Small Modular Reactors to the two sites, however none of the SMR designs have so far received the necessary licencing approvals to be deployed in the UK or none have even been built.
Since April of last year, Welsh anti-nuclear campaigners have also been especially active with an exhibition highlighting 40 years of nuclear free Wales touring the nation, with rallies held and declarations made at events in Caernarfon and Cardiff, and with actions opposing the dumping of radioactive water at Fukushima in Japan. A key part of the 2022 campaign was a first successful march, organised in the summer of last year from Trawsfynydd to Wylfa.
This time again the intrepid marchers will set off from Trawsfynydd on 2 August, but this year they are Eisteddfod bound!
For four days, the marchers will walk by stages 44 miles (72 kms) across Gwynedd, flanked by the beautiful mountains of the Yr Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, before a final rally at Boduan, site of this year’s National Eisteddfod, on 6 August. As this is a much shorter route than that taken by the marchers in 2022, along the way participants will run stalls, distribute leaflets, and host film screenings, taking their message of protest against new nuclear projects in North Wales.
On 6 August, a public meeting will be held starting at 3.30pm in Pabell y Cymdeithasau 2 on the Eisteddfod site, where there will be a discussion entitled “What nation of peace? The nuclear hypocrisy of our government”. As this is the 78th anniversary date of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a city devastated by the most hateful weapon that can be constructed from the by-products of nuclear power, the event will have an especial poignancy.
March organiser Sam Bannon from CND Cymru described the motivation and aims of the marchers:
"We urge anyone opposed to nuclear power to join us on CND Cymru's second march against the proposed rollout of small modular nuclear reactors in Cymru. In collaboration with People Against Wylfa B (PAWB) and the Society for the Prevention of Everlasting Nuclear Destruction (CADNO), this action will demonstrate our opposition to the rehabilitation of this unsafe, costly, and antiquated form of energy production that distracts from the goal of zero net carbon emissions and contributes directly to the production of nuclear weapons.
“In CND Cymru, we recognise the need for a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels. And so in showing our opposition to SMR’s, we are also advocating for a green new deal for Cymru. Harnessing the power of our abundant natural resources using truly sustainable means and investing in energy storage technologies, would without any doubt be cheaper, quicker, and safer as well as creating considerably more employment for people in Wales.”
For its part, the NFLA Wales Forum will be sending the marchers a message of their strong support.
NFLA Welsh Forum Chair Councillor Sue Lent explained why:
“Nuclear projects are notorious the world over for being delivered very late and way over budget. Bechtel and Westinghouse have been involved in the development of two new reactors at Vogtle in Georgia. Construction there started in 2009, yet only this year will both reactors come on stream, and the project is being delivered at a cost approaching US$30 billion, over double the original budget.
“Wales has wind and rivers, and a long coastline. Imagine what could done with $30 billion, or £23 billion, if it were invested instead in a national programme to insulate every home in Wales to the highest standard to reduce fuel consumption and energy bills, but also in renewable energy technologies to generate and store clean sustainable electricity from wind turbines, micro hydro-electric schemes, and from wave and tidal power projects, drawing on the natural resources with which our nation is blessed?”
“Instead of nuclear, we want to see investment in Wylfa and Trawsfynydd so they can be transformed into sites of engineering excellence for the development and deployment of renewable technologies and storage solutions. Wales can derive a lot more electricity far more quickly and at much less cost, without creating ugly new nuclear power plants that contaminate their environment, operate at risk, and leave a costly legacy of deadly radioactive waste in their wake. Let’s do this – let’s keep Wales nuclear free.”
Supporters of the march are encouraged to walk for the four days, to participate in one or more ‘legs’ or attend the public meeting at the Eisteddford at Boduan that will start at 3.30pm on 6 August. Food and accommodation can be provided enroute to marchers with advanced notice.
Ends//..For more details, and to book your place on the march, please contact Organiser Sam Bannon by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07482536264.
For more information about the NFLA, please contact Secretary Richard Outram by email to email@example.com or telephone 07583097793
This media release can also be found on the NFLA website at: https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/best-foot-forward-campaigners-are-marching-again-for-a-nuclear-free-wales/