Eden Project support for EDF under fire

by Jim Duffy
on Thursday 09 Jul 2009

type: Press Release
topic: The Environment
region: South West
EDF Energy is the largest producer of nuclear energy after the US and Canada and is determined to saddle the UK with more reactors under the cloak of low carbon energy whilst asking the Government to cut its renewables targets (1). What’s more, EDF Trading, which is based in London, advertises itself as “one of the largest participants in the global coal market.” (2)

“Hardly the stuff of sound environmental credentials,” Mike Rigby of anti-nuclear campaign group Stop Hinkley said, “It really is very rich for EDF, the biggest global corporate producer of nuclear waste and one of the worst carbon polluters in the world, to be lecturing the UK on how to save energy while demanding a reduction in UK wind power targets.”

The Eden Project has established itself as a first class environmental attraction and it is therefore bizarre that it has chosen to provide EDF with a green figleaf for its climate sins.

Jim Duffy, coordinator of Stop Hinkley was shocked to see Eden’s name associated with EDF and its rhetoric in today’s Times. “EDF Energy is about as far from ‘green’ as it’s possible to get”, he said. “They would do better to get out of coal and stop trying to foist new nuclear on us in the UK, than trying to paint themselves in green colours. The British people are not stupid and will see through this facade.” The Eden Project has been inundated with messages of protest from disappointed individuals, environmental campaigners and pressure groups such as Parents Concerned About Hinkley (3).

Further irony is heaped on Eden’s decision to support EDF by the fact that a Cornish site only 5 miles from Eden was actively considered for the siting of a nuclear power plant, a plan that was ultimately rejected after the celebrated Battle of Luxulyan. (4) “I wonder how the Eden Project would feel about EDF if such a plan were resurrected?” questioned Jim Duffy.

After a little delving into the structure of the Eden Project, its support for EDF is perhaps less surprising. Of the 5 Trustees, 2 are Rolls Royce’s Chairman and its Chief Executive (5). Rolls Royce has made no secret of its desire to get involved with any programme of new nuclear build in the UK. On top of that Eden’s Board (6) includes a Director of Sir Robert McAlpine, a construction company that lists major projects at Sellafield Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Facility and Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset amongst its ‘achievements’. Yet another Eden Board Member was previously Chief Executive of the South West Development Agency (SWRDA) a body embroiled in the controversial donation of £1.9m of taxpayers’ money to a nuclear skills education project in Somerset, an act that has been reported to the Audit Commission by Stop Hinkley.(7)

“The Eden Project looks to have been thoroughly infiltrated by nuclear industry supporters so perhaps it’s no surprise that they are supporting EDF, the world’s largest generator of nuclear power,” said Jim Duffy, adding: “In order to protect its reputation, the Eden Project needs to urgently rethink its support for EDF Energy. It should also clarify its position on nuclear energy. Does it, like the Sustainable Development Commission, see it as unnecessary or like the employers of many of those on its Board see nuclear energy as a good business opportunity?”

In a separate development, green electricity generator Ecotricity has threatened legal action (8&9) against EDF over use of the Green Union Flag as part of its Team Green Britain campaign. The image has long been used by Ecotricity in its marketing campaigns for three years. EDF’s apparent appropriation of the image has erroneously led some Ecotricity customers to believe that they too were supporting EDF greenwash.

Notes to Editors:

Eden Project CEO in today’s Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/gue...1.ece

EDF Energy’s Team Green Britain Day:

http://www.teamgreenbritain.org/homeb?gclid=CI7VrdG2yJs...hz9Kg

(1) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/mar/16/nuclear-...s-edf

(2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2009/ju...nergy

(3) Parents Concerned About Hinkley: 01278 783497

(4)http://www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk/news/cornwall_new...mand/

(5) http://www.edenproject.com/organisational-information/w...x.php

(6) http://www.edenproject.com/organisational-information/w...x.php

(7) http://www.stophinkley.org/PressReleases/pr090613.htm

(8) Dale Vance on Ecotricity website: http://zerocarbonista.com/2009/07/02/the-green-union-hi...jack/

(9) Article in Business Green 6th July: http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/224549...legal

Stop Hinkley letter to the Eden Project yesterday:

Mr Tim Smit
CEO, Eden Project

Dear Mr Smit
Our campaign group is very concerned at the current support and publicity that the Eden Project is giving the French nuclear company EDF. The company plans to build four giant reactors in the UK two of which will be at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Sustainable Development Commission said that replacing all UK reactors would reduce our carbon emmissions by just five percent. The UK target for 2050 is an 80 percent reduction.

The EDF reactors will use 'high burn up' nuclear fuel which will take a century to become cool enough and maneagable for eventual 'disposal'. Some interim storage will be in the South West at the Hinkley site. Disposal here means burial in chambers which will eventually leak into the environment during the million year life of the nuclear waste. The super-fuel also means the release of a higher proportion of dangerous radionuclides to the environment in the event of a serious accident. EDF plants have been criticised in France for a recent spate of radioactive leaks.

They have asked the Government to consider the disadvantages to new nuclear power if renewable energy expands at the planned rate and 'threatened' to not build as many reactors unless they have extra demands met to balance market forces in their favour.
They have seemingly stolen the 'Green Union Jack' from Ecotricity's awareness campaign and emblazened it on their TV adverts. According to an Ecotricity study, EDF spends only £5 per customer on renewable energy, the second lowest after N-power.

A Guardian article this week highlighted what it saw as 'greenwash' around the current EDF campaign pointing out that coal-burning power stations are also a major part of EDF's enterprise.
In France the company is under investigation for spying on Greenpeace campaigners.

Amongst environmentalists the Eden Project is a very respected venture and could lend its cudos to more worthy contributors to solving the world's climate problem.
We hope that you will consider pulling out of your involvement with EDF.

Yours

Jim Duffy
Stop Hinkley Coordinator
www.stophinkley.org

About Stop Hinkley:

Stop Hinkley is dedicated to the decommissioning of all the nuclear reactors on the Bristol Channel and the Severn Estuary and the introduction of greener technologies more appropriate to this millennium. We aim to stop nuclear expansion at Hinkley Point. The government is considering building a new generation of nuclear stations with Hinkley Point a favourite site, despite all the indications that renewables can fill the energy gap. We campaigned vigorously on the dangers connected with running Hinkley 'A' and as a consequence BNFL reluctantly shut it down permanently in 2000. We have commissioned studies highlighting an excess of cancers in coastal communities near Hinkley.

Interviews: Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator: 07798 666756

Mike Rigby, Stop Hinkley member: 07800 858828

www.stophinkley.org

ENDS

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Link: http://www.stophinkley.org