Friday, August 8, 2008

Six nuclear protesters arrested at North Anna plant visitors area


Six anti-nuclear power protesters were arrested at the North Anna power plant's visitor center yesterday after refusing to leave at its closing time.

Richard Zuercher, a spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, said about 25 protesters showed up at the visitor's center near Mineral in Louisa County at about 2:30 p.m.

The protesters at one point sat down in the center's exhibition hall and began chanting anti-nuclear sentiments, he said.

Zuercher said Virginia Power officials spoke to the protesters and asked them to leave by 4 p.m., when the visitor center normally closes. Some refused to leave and authorities were called.

By the time State Police and Louisa County Sheriff's Department deputies arrived, only six protestors remained in the building and were arrested for trespassing. They were cheered by the crowd as they were led away, said Zuercher. No one was injured.

"Dominion recognizes the people's right to speak their mind but we don't endorse illegal activity,'' said Zuercher.

The center is about 1 mile from the company's two nuclear reactors.

The protesters align themselves with such environmental advocacy groups as Blue Ridge Earth First!, Rising Tide North America, and Nuclear Watch South, said Mary Olson, a spokeswoman for Nuclear Watch South.

Olson said the protest was held because "we're trying to show visible opposition to the revival of nuclear power. Virginia Power appears poised to build another reactor at its North Anna plant.

"Part of what we're doing is sending up flares that this is happening,'' said Olson.

"Nuclear reactors are cost prohibitive, slow to build, and have an ecological footprint that is several times larger than that of wind, solar and other efficiency technologies," she also said in a statement.

"Every dollar spent on nuclear proliferation is money lost on safer, sustainable methods of generation," she added.

Contact Carlos Santos at (434) 295-9542 or

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