A proposed nuclear power plant at Seabrook, New Hampshire, has been a focus of anti-nuclear power efforts by environmentalists and others for over a year. In addition to deep concerns about safety and the disposal of nuclear wastes, which undergird general opposition to nuclear power, opponents of the Seabrook plant have also objected that this seashore facility would draw 1.2 billion gallons of water each day from the ocean and then return it 39 degrees warmer. Damage to the area’s fishing is feared, and, in particular, harmful effects on the offshore soft shell clam beds in the region. Primarily because of questions like these concerning the plant’s cooling system, the government’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency recently temporarily suspended much of the construction at the site.
The Clamshell Alliance was formed as a coalition of various groups opposed to the Seabrook plant, and they began a campaign of direct action--peaceful sit-ins at the site attempting to halt construction--last summer. Similar anti-nuclear power efforts have been wide spread in Europe, and stopped the proposed construction of a nuclear reactor in West Germany. On April 30 of this year, about 2,000 people opposed to the Seabrook plant entered and occupied the site, marking the largest protest action against nuclear power in U.S. history. One thousand four hundred fourteen were arrested, and the high financial cost of their confinement began to create a political problem for arch-conservative Governor Meldrim Thomson. An agreement was reached on May 12 for the release of all those arrested and later dates set for their trials.