Opposition to the construction of potentially dangerous nuclear power plants escalated August 22 in Seabrook, New Hampshire as 176 people were arrested for conducting an “occupation” of a nuclear power plant construction site.
The action was organized by the Clamshell Alliance, a coalition of a dozen environmental and political groups in the New England area, and was preceded by a large rally of 1,500 persons in the Atlantic seaboard town. The rally organizers charge that the nuclear installation will be harmful to the environment and that an accidental release of radioactive material could kill nearly a million people.
Although the Seabrook Town Council had voted to oppose the construction of the plant in the area, state and federal agencies caved into pressure from the New Hampshire Public Service Co. and pushed ahead with building plans. The town of Seabrook is dependent upon fishing and clamming as its main industry and environmentalists fear the impending damage to marine life from the plant’s wastes. Also, consumer electric bills will increase at least 5.5% according to the Coalition.
Although there has been vocal opposition to nuclear power plants throughout the nation, the New Hampshire sit-in is significant due to its willingness to move beyond the realm of political activity, where the politicians are the creatures of the utility companies and nuclear hardware manufacturers, and into direct action.