NIRS and WISE both celebrate their 25th anniversaries this year. This is the thirteenth article in a series, "25 years ago", comparing anti-nuclear news "then" and "now", to mark our first quarter-century of anti-nuclear campaigning.
In issue 3 of WISE Bulletin we wrote about Ireland's first anti-nuclear demonstration against the plan for a nuclear power plant at Carnsore: "Seven thousand people (only 3000 were expected) turned up at Ireland's first anti-nuclear demo at Carnsore Point, on 18-20 August. […] The ESB (Irish Electricity Board) plans a block of four reactors, total capacity 3000 MW. […] the ESB started buying up land 4 years ago". (WISE Bulletin, December 1978)
Ireland has never become a country using 'nukes' (even no research reactors) and is now even known for its anti-nuclear position in international politics. The Carnsore site was chosen in 1972 by the Irish government. Several groups (citizens, alternative energy, farmers, etc.) started soon to organize against the reactor plans. The 1978 demonstration was an important event in the struggle against the Carnsore reactors. The plans were eventually cancelled in Spring 1980.
There have been some attempts in the 1970s/1980s to mine uranium in the country. In that search the European Community played an important role as it looked for independence from foreign sources. Exploration activities were conducted by several mining companies but no mines opened because of low uranium market prices and local resistance.
Although being in favor of nuclear energy in the 1970s it nowadays appears to have taken over the ideas of the anti-nuclear movement. With the UK west coast close to Ireland, the Irish government has often protested against polluting activities of the UK. It demanded the closure of older and aging Magnox reactors and especially the Sellafield reprocessing plant. (Country Status Report #3: Ireland, Laka Foundation, 15 February 1995; Error! Bookmark not defined.)
Ireland has also started a number of legal actions against the Sellafield plant at international tribunals and put forward its position against pollution of the Irish Sea in the negotiations on the OSPAR Convention. (see also WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 557, 2 November 2001; and 590, 11 July 2003)
An extensive 37-page historical reconstruction of the Irish anti-nuclear movement was published in 1984/1985 by Dawn Train. The Nuclear Syndrome: Victory for the Irish Anti-nuclear Power Movement can be found at Error! Bookmark not defined.
Reproduction of this material is encouraged. Please give credit when reprinting.
Editorial team: Robert Jan van den Berg (WISE Amsterdam), Michael Mariotte (NIRS). With contributions from Energy Club Hungary, Friends of the Earth Europe, WISE Argentina, WISE Japan and WISE Ukraine.
The next issue (595) will be mailed out October 24, 2003.