Activists Deploy Buddy Electric Car to Derail British Nuke Plan

By · April 11, 2011

Sellafield Buddy Protest

Last week, the Norwegian foreign minister visited Britain's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility to address concerns over the plant's potential to send major levels of radioactive contamination Norway's way in the event of a catastrophic emergency. According to a recent report by the Norwegian government, a disaster at Sellafield could create levels of contamination 7-8 times higher than those seen at Chernobyl, site of the worst nuclear accident to date.

One day prior to the foreign minister's visit, a group of protestors used a small neighborhood electric vehicle, sold in Europe as the Buddy, in an attempt to block a rail shipment of radioactive waste for processing at the facility. The Neptune Network is a Norwegian environmental activist group focusing mostly on ocean-protection issues, and has been using the NEV at protests around Europe since last year.

The Buddy has been manufactured in Norway since 1991, when the first model debuted, equipped with lead-acid batteries and the same charmingly boxy body style that is retained in the most recent update. Consumers can now choose between a basic lead-acid version and a pricier 14.4 kWh nickel-metal battery—with a lithium ion pack said to be on its way as well. The car has a top speed of about 50 mph and a range of up to 100 km, and thanks to decreased road fees and other government incentives, the Buddy is one of the cheapest vehicles available in Norway.

Sellafield Buddy Tracks

Anti-nuke protests may not be as widespread in the United States as they once were, but in Europe—where the German Green Party won major gains in a recent German election thanks largely to its outspoken opposition to nuclear energy—the public is decidedly more questioning of its governments' nuclear policies.

Electric vehicles have rightfully become a major symbol for environmental progress in recent years, but the choice to feature one at an anti-nuclear protest might be viewed as questionable given the arguable connection between nukes and EVs. Before you go crying hypocrisy though, bear in mind that in the Neptune Network's native Norway—which also major oil producer—nearly all of the electrical energy generation comes from hydropower.

(Via Electric A!D.)

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