Brussels, October 10, 2002 – Friends of the Earth Europe today released a report (1) which demonstrates that the Euratom Loan Facility has failed to increase nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and must be abandoned. The report comes as the European Commission is proposing to extend the loan facility by a further € 2billion.

The report shows that Euratom Loans in Eastern Europe are not being used for the purpose proposed, namely to increase safety in Eastern Europe, but rather to help expand the nuclear sector in Eastern Europe. The only loan under active development is for the completion of the Cernavoda 2 reactor in Romanian, which is a Canadian designed reactor, being built by firms from Canada and Italy. Furthermore, the report shows that in all but one case, the upgrading of the Soviet designed reactors in Accession countries has been undertaken without funding from Euratom. Therefore, the loan facility is not necessary to carry out the proposed safety programs.

“The Euratom Loan Facility is as an outdated subsidy to the nuclear industry and must be abandoned”, said Martin Rocholl, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe, “It is unbelievable that at the same time that the EU is pushing for the wider introduction of a level playing field in the electricity sector that it is proposing to extend an outdated subsidy for nuclear power like the Euratom Loan Facility”.

It is expected that at next weeks Cabinet meeting, on the 16th October, the full Commission will discuss the proposal to extend the loan facility by a further €2 billion. If approved the loan facility must then be given unanimous support by Member States in the ECOFIN. Already a number of countries have expressed reservations or concerns about the Euratom Loan Extension, with recent resolutions in the the Parliaments of some Member States calling for the facility to be abandoned (Austria) or Euratom’s promotional functions for nuclear removed (Germany). Furthermore, a number of other Member States have called for the loan facility not to be used to expand the nuclear industry – as is currently intended.

“When Euratom loans were proposed for Eastern Europe it was said that they would be used to increase safety, however, instead they are being used to expand the industry in the region as construction of new reactors in the EU has stopped”, added Martin Rocholl

(1) FoE Europe Report: “WHY EURATOM DOES NOT MAKE OLD NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS SAFER: The Battle for More Money for New Reactors”

Martin Rocholl: + 32 (0) 2 542 01 80