22 years after Chernobyl: ?Nuclear Power is no solution for climate change?
26 April 2008, exactly 22 years after the world?s largest nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels states that nuclear power is not a solution to climate change. The environmental organization today organized a political debate and symbolic action on this issue at the nuclear power plant of Doel, Belgium. The events, which form part of ?The Big Ask? climate campaign, confront the proposition that nuclear power is a solution to climate change.
The political debate included speakers from Belgian government and opposition parties including: Jos Stassen (member of the Flemish Parliament, Groen!), Luc Maes (Alderman for the city of Beveren, Open VLD), Magda De Meyer (member of the federal parliament, sp.a), Gaston Meskens (Study Centre for Nuclear Energy), Nelly Maes (former member of the European parliament, VlaamsProgressieven).
Koen Cornelis, speaking in the debate on behalf of Friends of the Earth stated: ?The idea that nuclear power is a solution to climate change has received headlines once again over the past few days. This is simply the latest in a long line of misleading and dangerous statements to come from the nuclear industry and its supporters. The anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl should remind us that nuclear power is not safe. It is not clean. And it is not cheap.?
Referring to the fact that the Belgian law on the phase out of nuclear power continues to be called into question he stated: ?The uncertainty over the future of the energy market means that investments in renewable energy are effectively being obstructed. This is a serious problem if we are going to achieve the phase out of nuclear power, and achieve the necessary cuts in greenhouse gasses to prevent catastrophic climate change. The savings in greenhouse gas emissions that nuclear power could deliver - even with a massive program of new construction - will be too little, too late. Investment in nuclear power means less money for the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy saving- all of which have the capacity to provide real savings over a shorter time frame.?
Following the debate, there was a commemoration for the victims of Chernobyl at Doel nuclear power plant, in East Flanders. Activists attached 443 colourful windmills to the fence of the plant, to symbolize the number of nuclear reactors currently active around the world. The windmills spelled out the words: ?No Nukes!?
The symbolic action paid particular attention to the largely forgotten victims of the disaster, the liquidators sent into Chernobyl to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. Several thousand of these workers have lost their lives as a result of their work in Chernobyl. During the action witness statements from many of these workers were read at the main entrance to the power plant. The text of these statements can be downloaded (in French) at:
The symbolic action and debate are part of The Big Ask climate campaign.
?The Big Ask? is a campaign for annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across Europe. It is supported by Friends of the Earth groups in 17 European countries. Friends of the Earth believes that nuclear power is a dangerous, dirty and expensive source of energy, and as such has no part to play in the solution to the challenges posed by climate change.
For more information:
Friends of the Earth (Flanders & Brussels)
Mobile: +32 (0)472 342 463
Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels (formerly For Mother Earth) is a member of Friends of the Earth International