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Arrests made in nuclear protests
Protest at Lake Anna ends with six arrests

Date published: 8/8/2008

BY ELLEN BILTZ AND RUSTY DENNEN

"Nuclear is not the answer."

That was the message Mary Olson and her organization, Nuclear Watch South, were trying to send yesterday in their protest of Dominion Power's North Anna Power Station.

The protest, which the group said was a peaceful sit-in at the station's visitors center, ended in six arrests by the Louisa County Sheriff's Office, Olson said.

Phone calls to the Sheriff's Office were not returned yesterday and the specific charges of the protestors was unknown.

Olson said initially 15 people went into the visitors center about 2 p.m. yesterday, and six of them refused to leave when the center closed at 4 p.m.

She said those arrested intentionally stayed at the visitors center after closing hours and expected the police action.

Nuclear Watch South, along with groups Blue Ridge Earth First and Rising Tide North America participated in the protest in an attempt to send the message of awareness about the effects nuclear power can have on society, including waste production and increased water temperature, Olson said.

She added that the protest is timely because of Dominion's intention to add a new nuclear reactor at the power station.

"Building new nuclear power reactors is the wrong idea," she said. "We wanted to make that point."

Dominion Power is in the final application stage of adding a possible third nuclear unit--two already exist at the nuclear plant, which sits near Mineral on the 14,000-acre Lake Anna.

Richard Zuercher, spokesman for Dominion's nuclear operations, said, "Dominion respects peaceful protest. We don't condone illegal acts."

He said the protest was peaceful and no harm was done to the visitors center.

Jerry Rosenthal, a longtime opponent of the North Anna reactor plan, was not involved in yesterday's protest, but applauded the action.

"It's nice for me to see young people who are aware and committed, and willing to put themselves on the line," said Rosenthal, who lives in Louisa County not far from the plant.

Olson said her group hoped that yesterday's protest would just shine additional light on a growing issue in Louisa.

"A lot of people don't even know they're trying to build a third reactor," she said.

Ellen Biltz: 540/374-5424
Email: ebiltz@freelancestar.com