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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / presschernobyl

presschernobyl

Friends of the Earth Press Release, October 17th, 2000

HOW SAFE IS 'SAFE ENOUGH'?

Chernobyl reactors in the EU? Is Temelin the next Chernobyl?

Brussels – At a press conference FoE Europe today presented the campaign focus for the coming months:

Nuclear power plants in EU candidate countries
The international conflict that was sparked off by the start-up of the Czech nuclear power plant Temelin showed how important this issue is to people, and that it is a crucial question for EU-Enlargement. But the European Union until now has evaded this question of clearly defining what standards nuclear power plants have to comply with.

Dr. Martin Rocholl, FoEE¥s political coordinator: "We have to be clear about this: We are talking about the most dangerous nuclear power plants in the world, like Kozloduj in Bulgaria or Bohunice in Slovakia that are still on the grid in candidate countries. We want to shed light on how irresponsibly the EU is handling the issue."

Temelin illustrates once more, how the EU¥s official statements that the EU does not have a say in nuclear safety are used in these countries as an argument in favour of the dangerous reactors. The Czech foreign minister declared that the EU considers Temelin as being in line with EU standards. But this is not the case, as the Council working group on nuclear safety standards has not even finished its report yet.

A similar situation to the Czech Republic exists in Slovakia. As explained by Palo Siroky from the Slovak environmental organisation ZaMatkuZem:"In Slovakia the nuclear lobby is very strong and nuclear safety is very low. One example is the highrisk reactor Bohunice V1. It should have been shutdown already in 2000, but the EU – Commission agreed to the prolongation until 2008. We have signals that this closure date is not going to be kept either." Palo Siroky explained that the Slovak environmental movement asks the EU to make clear to the governments in candidate countries that nuclear safety is an important issue instead of listening only to what the nuclear lobby has to say. "The Slovak environmental movement calls for an earlier shutdown of V1. But the so-called independent bodies like WENRA (Western European Nuclear Regulators Association) are going to tell us, that even reactors without containment are safe enough. In their countries, Germany, France or Sweden, a reactor with such a safety level would never get a permission."

The paper "How safe is safe" presented today sums up the situation of nuclear power plants in the EU accession countries, where the threats and challenges lie, and what the EU should do in order to finally introduce the often demanded "high nuclear safety standards".

Patricia Lorenz, FoEE campaigner and author of the paper: " It is not acceptable, that organisations like WENRA declare Soviet design nuclear power plants from the sixties to be "high nuclear safety". Than we are going to have two European Unions: The Western part with higher safety standards, and the lower standards for the East. We demand that current EU - standards are going to be applied when assessing nuclear safety in candidate countries and we demand a transparent nuclear policy, involving the public in East and West, non-nuclear states and NGOs alike."

The paper "How safe is safe enough" is available through the FoEE office and can be downloaded from the homepage http://www.foeeurope.org .

Patricia Lorenz, Friends of the Earth Europe
Tel: +32-2-542 0184, Fax: -5375596
Email: Patricia.Lorenz@foeeurope.org

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