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Nuclear Company Areva Not Wanted In America's Cup

French Nuclear Company Areva Not Wanted In America’s Cup

Auckland, February 20, 2002: Major French sponsor of the French entry in the America’s Cup feels the pressure as New Zealanders demand Areva pull out of the America’s Cup.

Environmental campaigning organisation, Greenpeace has placed information about Areva on their website and invited people to send a message calling on the nuclear company to withdraw their sponsorship of the America’s Cup. In less than a week more than 700 people have sent messages.

“The public have a right to know the true nature of Areva’s core business. Unfortunately the media seem more interested in Greenpeace tactics rather than why we are opposed to the nuclear industry’s sponsorship of a sporting event,” says Greenpeace spokesperson, Bunny McDiarmid.

In France communities opposed to Areva highjacking the America’s Cup is growing with sailing and maritime organisations joining with the anti-nuclear groups in condemning Areva’s actions.

Areva is not a new company but the result of restructuring within the French nuclear industry over the last year –a merger of the nuclear power (Framatome), reprocessing (Cogema) and electrical connectors (FCI) companies under one roof, Areva.

Cogema pumps millions of litres of radioactive discharge into the sea from its reprocessing facility every year. In 1998, 15 European countries voted for reducing and eliminating radioactive discharges because pollution from both the UK and French (Cogema) nuclear facilities were found as far north as Norway and the Arctic.

In 2000 the same countries called on France to consider the alternatives to reprocessing.

New Zealand and Pacific governments have also voiced concern with Cogema over their production and shipment of plutonium fuel through the Tasman and Pacific. The last shipment was in February 2001.

Areva is 79% owned by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), who are responsible for the development of Frances nuclear weapons and oversaw nuclear testing at Moruroa.

In 2000, the Commander of French forces in Polynesia admitted fractures in Moruroa atoll could result in the atoll collapsing. Yet the CEA still refuse to conduct long term monitoring of the atoll.

“Areva is a new name for the same old business. We cannot turn a blind eye to one of the dirtiest and most dangerous industries hijacking the America’s Cup to promote and sanitise their business, and it is clear that many New Zealanders will not either.

“Greenpeace is not opposed to the America’s Cup nor to a French entry. It is possible to have a successful America’s Cup event without the nuclear industry onboard.”

For more information contact Bunny McDiarmid on 021 838 183 or Brendan Lynch 021 790 817. Or see http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/actions/nukes.

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