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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
Postal protest over Sellafield planned
MOX reprocessing plant, Cumbria
The approval of the MOX plant has provoked anger
The wife of the Irish rock star Bono has launched another campaign to close the Sellafield nuclear power plant.

Ali Hewson is organising for more than a million postcards to be sent from households throughout the Republic of Ireland to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair demanding that he shut down the plant.

U2's Bono and his wife Ali, an anti-nuclear campaigner live in Killiney Bay in south County Dublin - just over a 100 miles away from Sellafield.
Ali Hewson and Bono
Ali Hewson is an anti-nuclear campaigner

Ali Hewson believes it is a risk to her children and the children of the Irish nation.

So, she has organised a special postal delivery for the prime minister.

The British Government denies Sellafield is the risk the Irish Government and pressure groups believe it to be.

Ali Hewson is not convinced, and has organised for 1.3m households to be given postcards calling for the plant's closure.

They will be sent free of charge to Mr Blair.

Ali Hewson told the BBC: "I think it is the first step to say to Tony Blair that we respect what you did in Northern Ireland, we respect what you did for the peace process, but we don't respect you standing behind BNFL and Sellafield."

People can buy other postcards to be sent to the Prince of Wales and Sellafield's chief executive.

All of the postcards will be delivered on 26 April with the proceeds going to victims of the Chernobyl disaster.

The Taoiseach has made it quite clear that he is opposed to Sellafield and would like to see it closed

Irish Government spokesman

Fergus Finlay, once a special government adviser and a key player in the peace process, is also involved in the campaign.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has already offered preliminary support.

A scheme spokesman said: "We are working on trying to establish the campaign which still depends on us being able to pay for it, but we hope it will be up and running soon.

"The idea is that the cards will be delivered to homes in the Republic and people will be urged to send them on to Tony Blair and Prince Charles, as well as to Sellafield itself.

"It is hoped that we will be able to get corporate and government backing for the campaign. Some individuals have already made personal financial commitments."

The Irish Post Office An Post confirmed it would drop the postcards through 1.3m homes in the Republic for people to forward to the UK.

Supermarkets and banks will be asked to sell the cards to customers for one euro.

Terrorist target

The commissioning of a new mixed oxide (MOX) reprocessing facility at the end of 2001 caused outrage in the Republic.

Mr Ahern's party, Fianna Fail, itself launched a high profile protest against the nuclear plant towards the end of last year, publishing full page articles in the British press demanding its closure.

A spokesman for Mr Ahern said: "The Taoiseach has made it quite clear that he is opposed to Sellafield and would like to see it closed.

"Obviously the plans for the postcard campaign would need to be examined carefully but as long as it is all legal it would have his backing."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Shane Harrison:
"The plant is just 100 miles away"
See also:

29 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Irish politicians unite in Sellafield row
24 Dec 01 | England
Irish 'ignorant' over Sellafield
17 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Irish appeal over nuclear plant
08 Nov 01 | UK
Q&A: Sellafield's Mox plant
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