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Renovating Half Moon Cottage

The decision to occupy the site was not taken lightly. After much deliberation, the Torness Alliance decided that civil disobedience was the only option open to them given the clear determination of Bruce Millan, Secretary of State for Scotland, to grant the SSEB planning permission for the proposed plant — whatever the objections. Something of his intransigence was shown by his outright rejection of a motion, passed by the Lothian Regional Council, calling on him to reconsider his decision not to hold a public inquiry on the proposed plant. He simply replied (through his secretary) that he did not think that it raised any issues to which he had not already given consideration. The fact that the motion came from the elected representatives of the local community evidently struck him as of little consequence.

Not surprisingly, the Torness Alliance have found a wealth of support amongst the local people. Some have invited the occupiers to their homes to have baths (there are no washing facilities on the site), some have given food, and farmers have sent vegetables to supplement what they are growing in their own kitchen garden. The protesters have also been loaned a pick-up truck, a van, building tools, a gas boiler, a gas ring and cylinders.

The estimated cost of the proposed TornessAdvancedGas-cooledReactor (AGR) is £742 million, making it one of the biggest spending projects in Scotland's history. Originally it was thought the SSEB were only thinking of building one 1320Mw reactor but it now emerges that they have New Ecologist No. 6 Nov/Dec 1978

QC 00

planning permission for "up to 5280Mw of capacity" — in other words, for four reactors. "This means that the public has no effective say as to whether [the three extra reactors] should be built," says SCRAM in its newsletter. "The Secretary of State does have to authorise expenditure and nuclear site licences have to be granted — but these are not processes in which the public plays any important part . . . Under planning law there is nothing the public can do to prevent Torness from becoming Britain's hugest and most horrifying nuclear complex. The SSEB have be,en quietly fostering the idea that they have only one reactor in mind for Torness. The revelation that they in fact have permission for four can only anger people. We are not prepared to be conned into accepting such a massive and dangerous plant." SCRAM also point out that the SSEB already have at least twenty per cent excess capacity — and that there is good evidence that their forecasts of future electricity demand have been exaggerated.

So far the only official visits the protesters have received have been from a few local policemen who have proved very friendly, even staying to chat over cups of tea. The SSEB have made no moves to reoccupy the site but, should they do so, the Torness Alliance have drawn up contingency plans for bringing in supporters as fast as possible.

The most vociferous condemnation of the occupation and the activities of SCRAM appeared in a bizarre article published in The Daily Telegraph. The author, Robert

Moss, founder of the National Association for Freedom, tried to link the anti-nuclear movement with an international plot to overthrow capitalism. "I n Britain all the major Trotskyite groups are opposed to nuclear energy," Moss writes. "The current focus for the anti-nuclear campaign is in Scotland and the North of England, where recently created organisations like the Scottish Network to Resist the Nuclear Menace (SCRAM) (sic) are active." Apparently he believes the aim of the anti-nuclear groups is to assist the Soviet Union in its "long-term strategy to deprive the West of automatic access to fuel". Needless to say members of SCRAM have no group political affiliation.

The protesters at Torness welcome anyone who wishes to join them, stressing only that the occupation is a non-violent one. Anyone who would like to support the campaign should first contact SCRAM at 2a Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, Scotland. We wish the occupiers all success and a happy Christmas.

Switzerland

Freedom or Ease?

If proposed amendments to Swiss nuclear law are carried through, the State will be able to use compulsory purchase to acquire sites for dumping nuclear waste, and Switzerland's long-established tradition of direct democracy will be seriously threatened. Next February a national referendum will be held to confirm these changes which have already been tacitly agreed by both chambers of the Swiss parliament.

An opposition group has been formed and, at a press conference in Zurich, its President, a Basle city councillor, warned that the amendments would deprive local communities of important constitutional rights. In effect the State (or even private interests such as the electricity industry) will be empowered to carry out test borings and to purchase sites without local agreement. A letter pointing out these dangers has been sent by the group to all Swiss communities.

The group argues that nuclear waste disposal should not be treated as a national problem; it is the private concern of the electricity industry and it is up to them to solve it. The nuclear industry had got itself into an impossible position and

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