N-plant plane video branded 'childish'

AN ENVIRONMENT group has been branded “childish” after publishing a video sequence showing a passenger plane about to crash into the Sizewell nuclear power site.

By David Green

AN ENVIRONMENT group has been branded “childish” after publishing a video sequence showing a passenger plane about to crash into the Sizewell nuclear power site.

Local residents questioned the need to use such “scare tactics” while the nuclear industry claimed the video was part of a “distasteful publicity campaign”.

The 45-second Greenpeace computer-generated video, posted on the internet, shows a family on a beach near the site.

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As the father of the family uses a hand-held camera to capture the tranquil scene for posterity, an increasing roar is heard and a plane screams overhead heading for the power stations.

The impact is not shown and the video cuts to a caption which states: Do we really want more nuclear power stations?

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Greenpeace yesterday defended the video, saying the public had a right to know that nuclear reactors were not built to withstand a deliberate crash by a jumbo jet full of highly explosive aviation fuel.

Sarah North, head of the group's nuclear campaign, said: “Millions of people could die as a result of a terrorist attack on a nuclear plant. This is a totally unacceptable risk.

“Tony Blair has put the prospect of building these extremely dangerous facilities back on the agenda, seemingly without a thought for the safety of UK people,”

But local residents condemned the video as an unnecessary scare tactic and the nuclear industry said the video was distasteful.

Lisa Green, a Sizewell resident, said she did not think the video would frighten people in the hamlet or cause them to change their attitude to nuclear power.

“I do question whether we need this kind of scare tactic. We all know the kind of places that are a target for terrorists and this kind of tactic does not work with local residents.

“Over the years we have had to live with a series of forecasts of catastrophes and I think people get to become immune to it,” she added.

Pat Hogan, who represents the hamlet on the Sizewell Stakeholders Committee, was unavailable for comment but other residents said they thought the video was “childish” and in bad taste.

A spokesman for the British Nuclear Group, which owns the Sizewell A plant, said: “We are not prepared to comment on what appears to be a distasteful publicity campaign.”

A spokesman for British Energy, which owns Sizewell B, said: “As a nuclear operator we work very closely with the Office for Civil Nuclear Security, who are responsible for security at civil nuclear sites, to ensure we have the most stringent security arrangements in place, including airspace restrictions.”

The Department of Trade and Industry said stringent security measures were regularly reviewed.

“In the wake of September 11, 2001, the system of flying restrictions over nuclear installations was extended to apply to all civil nuclear facilities to prevent air accidents with consequences for the safety of these installations and create an exclusion zone around civil nuclear facilities,” he added.

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