breaks business mould in Sellafield protest
The Guardian, November 20, 2002
By Terry Macalister
Original address: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,843621,00.html
A Norwegian businessman
yesterday chained himself to a part of the Sellafield nuclear plant
in protest at emissions being discharged into the Irish Sea, said to
be the most irradiated water mass in the world.
Petter Stordalen, the billionaire chief executive
of Choice Hotels, said he would stay there until BNFL blocked the pipeline
and started storing all waste on land.
"It's the first time I have been involved in
anything like this," he said, via a mobile telephone. "I have
supported Neptune Network [a green group] with money but decided it
was time I supported them with action. I told my wife yesterday I was
going to a meeting; she was a bit surprised but proud when I phoned
and said where I really was."
Mr Stordalen is a private property developer who
also runs Norway's largest hotel chain, listed on the Oslo stock exchange
with a £90m price tag.
He had been forced to take action because Tony Blair
had continually dismissed pressure from the Norwegian government to
halt its activities, he said.
Nordic countries have become increasingly alarmed
at evidence that marine currents have carried radioactive materials
from Sellafield into their fishing grounds. The Irish government is
also campaigning hard for Sellafield to be closed down, launching a
legal challenge to its expansion and praising Greenpeace for its efforts
to highlight dangers there.
Mr Stordalen, along with MP Karl Anton Svendsen
and Neptune's Frank Hugo Storelv, took over a bridge holding part of
The campaign group organising the protest said the
men had "entered" Sellafield, but BNFL said they had stayed
on public land. "There are no issues of trespass or violent conduct.
As long as it is a peaceful protest [and] safety is not being interfered
with then we respect their right to protest," said a spokesman.