Press release, 19 June 1999
Flying inflatable over G7 Summit as Greenpeace calls for no money for nuclear power plants in Ukraine
COLOGNE, 19 June, 1999 - A Greenpeace activist today circled Cologne cathedral and the site of events at the world economic summit in a flying inflatable, in protest at completion of the construction of two nuclear power plants in the Ukraine, Khmelnitsky 2 and Rovno 4 (K2R4). The flying device was towing a banner saying 'No New Chernobyls'. Greenpeace is taking this action to call on the heads of government of the G7 countries not to make loans worth millions for the two nuclear power plants.
"The G7 countries must accept that completing the construction of K2R4 makes no sense ecologically or economically," says Veit Buerger, Greenpeace's expert on energy in Cologne. "German Chancellor Schroeder must now show the way forward and establish environmentally-friendly gas-fired power plants and energy-saving measures as an alternative to K2R4."
A final decision to finance K2R4 had been due to be made at the world economic summit in Cologne this weekend. However, the German government wants to postpone a final decision. Although independent scientists warn of major shortcomings in safety with the proposed reactors reactors, the G7 nations have so far placed all their support in K2R4. "You may just as well take a rusty old car, fit it with new brakes and a ROLL bar, and then sell it as a safe vehicle," says Veit Buerger.
The Ukraine government in fact wanted to build gas-fired power plants in order to shut down the reactor which caused the disaster at Chernobyl. "The G7 countries really have talked the Ukraine into the nuclear project," Veit Buerger goes on. Nuclear companies such as Siemens (in Germany) and Fromatom (France) are hoping to get contracts worth millions to complete construction of the two reactors.
Until now Chancellor Schroeder has felt himself bound by an agreement between the G7 countries and the Ukraine. A legal opinion published by Greenpeace last Thursday proves the contrary is the case. The 'Memorandum of Understanding', as it is called, is not an internationally binding agreement and imposes no obligation to finance the two nuclear plants in the Ukraine.
Germany would bear the largest part of the total 3.4 billion marks planned. "The German taxpayer would have to fork out 810 million marks to pay for this hazardous project," Buerger says.
Greenpeace wants to see a modern gas-fired power plant built instead of the two nuclear plants. By doing this and exploiting the enormous potential for saving energy, about half the costs planned could be saved.
Greenpeace is on the Internet in Germany at www.greenpeace.de
For more information Greenpeace International on the Internet at http:www.greenpeace.org