On the morning of September 1st an Australian delegation on a parliamentary inquiry into the management of nuclear waste, was blockaded in North-East France by anti-nuclear activists.
The delegation was visiting the National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA) facilities in the municipality of Bure, where an anti-nuclear movement under the banner of Bure Zone Libre (Bure Liberated Zone, BZL) has been burgeoning in recent years.
A group of about twenty masked activists dressed in white overalls and armed with water guns, drums and a sound system blocked the Australian delegation from entering the ANDRA laboratory, forcing the delegation to turn around and leave.
“We’re here in solidarity with indigenous resistance to the planned nuclear facility in Australia,” said one activist with a red clown nose. “Nuclear industry endangers life itself, and we will resist it everywhere.”
The BZL movement recently got national headlines in France for toppling a three kilometer long wall which ANDRA has erected around the forest near Bure. The wall was intended to stop the group from reoccupying the forest which ANDRA aims to uproot for the construction of a controversial nuclear waste facility.
“Wherever they’ll build walls, we’ll turn them into wall jam,” the activist laughed, explaining the French wordplay confiture de mur, as mur means both blackberry and wall.
About twenty gendarmes (French military police) patrolled Bure after the action had already ended. The area has been increasingly militarized recently, with activists facing trumped legal charges.
The BZL activists sent the Australian delegates a letter explaining their actions, presented below.
Letter to Australian delegation
Dear distinguished Australian visitors, Nuclear industry is a ticking time bomb, whether radioactive waste is dumped in Bure, Wallerberdina, or anywhere else. There is no known way to permanently neutralize it. All claims to the contrary are unfounded (visit nirs.org for details). By accepting to dump nuclear waste in Australia you are not only endangering the lives of aboriginal people and Australians in the region, but of wildlife and of the lives of those who will suffer the consequences nuclear production from
extraction to waste everywhere.
Here in Bure, Andra’s project has already cost the lives of two workers, most recently last January, showing the company’s incompetence and disrespect for human life. Undemocratically and illegally imposed on us, the costs of the Cigeo waste project rise as resistance to it is burgeoning, manifesting in absurd military and police presence in the area.
As nuclear power proves to be obsolete and dangerous the world over, and as sustainable alternatives are increasingly available, resistance materializes in Australia as well. You can choose to fight for a just, ecologically balanced world now, and leave Andra’s profit-driven propagandists to listen to what we have to say, or meet us from the other side of the barricades. We are fighting for our lives and for the lives of our children.
We are a growing contingent of local and international activists occupying Bure to stop nuclear catastrophe. In our collective way of organizing and living we present an alternative to nuclear waste and to the sick world which produces it.