Nuclear power Barsebaeck now, European nuclear power next
Press release from the Swedish Anti Nuclear Movement, NOAH - Friends of The Earth Denmark and Atomstopp International.
Tuesday 31 May, the European anti-nuclear movement will celebrate one of its biggest victories for some time - the shutdown of the Swedish Barsebaeck nuclear power plant. Green NGOs in Denmark and Sweden have campaigned almost non-stop for twenty years in order to persuade the Swedish government to decommission the plant.
"This is a historic event. It is the first time a Western nuclear power plant has been closed as a precautionary measure, that is, before a serious accident occurs. Barsebäck is only 20 km from Copenhagen, capital of Denmark. It is surrounded by Scandinavia's most productive farmland. The consequences of an accident there would be disastrous", says Göran Bryntse, from the Swedish Anti-Nuclear Movement.
"The shutdown of Barsebaeck is a great encouragement for us in the anti-nuclear movement across Europe", says Roland Egger, spokesperson of Atomstopp, a loose cooperation of anti-nuclear organizations operating all over the world. "Although we don't have a nuclear power programme of our own, Austria is surrounded by nuclear power plants situated near our borders with Temelin as the nearest example to Upper Austria. However, one must bear in mind that nuclear power cannot be fought only on the regional and national level. It must also be fought on the European level. That is why Atomstopp has been instrumental in launching a pan-European campaign in order to collect one million signatures against nuclear power".
Backed up by 160 European environmental NGOs and with almost 200,000 signatures collected all over Europe, the campaign has so far been a significant success. Its objective is to reach a million signatures before the 20th Chernobyl memorial day on 26 April 2006. It is based on Article I-47 in the draft of the European Constitution and if it succeeds, it will be the first initiative presenting a petition signed by one million Europeans.
The petition encourages European countries to take the following measures without delay:
- To stop or prevent the construction of new nuclear power plants and facilities in the European Union.
- To launch a plan to abandon nuclear power within the European Union.
- To invest massively in energy saving and the development of renewable energies.
- To repeal the Euratom Treaty which massively supports nuclear power in Europe by means of public funding.
"Although Barsebaeck is now decommissioned, the Danish environmental movement will still have to deal with nuclear issues for many years to come", says Niels Henrik Hooge from NOAH's energy group and former spokesperson of the newly abolished Barsebäcksoffensiv, a loose network of some of the biggest green NGOs in Denmark. "The attention now has to be directed to the Euratom Treaty and its distortion of EU's free electricity market. As many NGOs and people as possible here in Denmark should support this brilliant initiative to collect one million signatures against nuclear power, not only because it serves the interest of all Europeans, but also because it could help the Danish energy sector that is world leading in the field of renewables".
Representatives of the green NGOs and the now abolished Barsebäcksoffensiv (www.barseback.org) can be met in front of the Barsebäck nuclear power plant Monday 30 May 10-12 AM and on the morning of Tuesday 31 May (approx. 7-12 AM).
For further information, please contact: Roland Rittman, Tel. +46703968948 (mob.) and +4641020748 (home), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and Birgitta Möller, tel. +46 (0) 704294928, E-mail: email@example.com
Currently, 46 nuclear power reactors - 29,5 % of all the nuclear power reactors in the EU with a total installed net capacity of 37,903 MWe - are located less than 50 kilometres from a national border. This concentration of nuclear power reactors in EU border regions is by far the highest in the world. Almost half the EU member states have chosen not to develop nuclear power. There is an assumption that the main reason for this decision is the dangers that nuclear power represents. Because of the nuclear power plants located in border regions many of these countries have to face these dangers anyway.
9 nuclear power reactors are located less than 5 kilometres, 6 5-10 kilometres, 8 10-20 kilometres, 9 20-30 kilometres, 11 30-40 kilometres and 8 40-50 kilometres from a national border in the EU.
The countries that have the highest number of nuclear power reactors near their borders are Germany with 10 reactors located less than 50 kilometres from its national borders (6 in France and 4 in Switzerland), Belgium with 9 (8 in France and 1 in the Netherlands), Netherlands with 8 (7 in Belgium and 1 in Germany) and Austria with 6 (6 in the Czech Republic).
Further information on the Barsebaeck nuclear power plant can be found (in English language) here.
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