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Southwold: Political sage’s nuclear blast

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 November 2011

Tony Benn (R) chats with the Shutdown Sizewell Campaigners Tom Griffiths-Jones (L) and Charles Barnett

Tony Benn (R) chats with the Shutdown Sizewell Campaigners Tom Griffiths-Jones (L) and Charles Barnett

A POLITICAL heavyweight has shown support for a campaign to shut down Sizewell power station and terminate Britain’s nuclear programme.

Former Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn met members of the Shutdown Sizewell campaign in Southwold, where he was appearing at the four-day Ways With Words Literature Festival.

In charge of Britain’s nuclear programme in the late 60s, Mr Benn, rethought his views on atomic energy after leaving office, and later gave evidence to the Sizewell Public Inquiry in 1984.

He congratulated the campaign on its work, adding: “I was told that atomic energy was cheap, safe and peaceful. I remember Eisenhower talking about “atoms for peace”. But I was converted, in my experience as minister, against nuclear power. I learned by experience that it is not cheap, safe or peaceful. I discovered after leaving office that UK produced plutonium had been sent to America for its weapons programme.

“This is a big environmental issue and Fukushima is a warning to the world.”

Charles Barnett, of Shutdown Sizewell, stressed that Mr Benn’s invitation was in no way connected with the festival, adding: “Knowing Mr Benn is not exactly enamoured of nuclear power, we wanted him to say a few words.

“It would be impertinent to suggest what he ought to say, but I sent him a copy of our latest newsletter to give him a flavour of what we are about.

“If we, the people, don’t get rid of nuclear power and weapons, they will get rid of us - that’s the chilling message.”


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