Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

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Nuclear Waste Trains Given Lick Of Protest Paint

Squall 10, Summer 1995, pg. 6.

Three people were arrested in May after sitting in front of a train carrying nuclear waste and painting it with anti-nuclear slogans.

Christopher Gwyntopher and Katie Andrews, both seasoned campaigners, were charged with obstructing an engine under the 1886 Malicious Damages Act.

Oliver Stoll was charged with criminal damage for painting the train with a danger sign, the words “danger” and “death” and an outline of a child in remembrance of the nuclear shadow of Hiroshima.

Nine other people took part in the action, at Stratford Station, east London, by leafleting passengers on adjacent platforms and outside the station.

Nuclear waste from Bradwell Power Station, in Essex, is transported through London every Thursday on it way to the Thorpe reprocessing plant at Sellafield.

“Even if an accident doesn’t happen,” said Christopher Gwyntopher, “there are radiation emissions from the train. A Geiger counter gives a reading from 400 metres and the train crew’s own instructions tells them not to remain near the wagons unnecessarily.

“If there was an accident which punctured the container,” he continued, “according to work done by a consultant engineer, an area of 28 miles downwind of the train would have to be evacuated or else people would die of radiation sickness”.

The activists delayed the train for ten minutes, long enough for it to be painted, as part of a London-wide action against the train.

In December, two CND campaigners, David Polden and CND vice chair Pat Arrowsmith, were arrested for carrying out a similar action.

They are due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on July 24th at 10am. The three people arrested in May appeared before Stratford Magistrates Court on June 19th. The maximum sentence for obstructing an engine is two year’s imprisonment. A London-wide action against the shipment of nuclear waste through the capital is planned for October 14th.