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Greenpeace calls review safety of nuke reactors

Greenpeace challenges nuclear authorities worldwide to review safety of all reactors

Berlin, Germany -- Greenpeace Is calling on all nuclear safety authorities around the world to urgently review the safety of their reactors and to close the most vulnerable following the leak of a confidential German document, which shows no single nuclear reactor in Germany is safe from a terrorist attack and that older reactors would most probably be uncontrollable after a plane crash.

The German Reactor Safety Organisation (GRS) issued a report (1) in the aftermath September 11 2001. A confidential summary of this detailed report made by the Ministry of Environment was leaked to the German and Austrian press. Commenting on the report, Wolfram König, head of the German Radiation Protection Agency (BfS) stated that five out of eighteen operational reactors should be closed down 'prematurely' because they posed the greatest safety threat. He further strongly criticised the nuclear companies which have not yet lived up to their responsibility since 11 September 2001.

"While nuclear power is inherently unsafe, the events of September 11, 2001 took the threat to an even higher level. Now two and half years later the nuclear industry, and Governments around the world have still not addressed the problem," warned Jan Vande Putte, of Greenpeace International. "If the head of Germany's Radiation Protection Authority says five reactors should close, then they must be closed now. However, this is not just a problem for Germany, but one for every country with nuclear reactors," he said.

Greenpeace has sent translations of the GRS summary report to all national nuclear safety authorities in thirty countries around the world, demanding an urgent review. Assessments should be made public as every citizen has an interest in understanding the risks he or she is forced to bear from the operation of nuclear reactors.

"Greenpeace campaigns for the closure of all nuclear power plants because they are unsafe, produce tonnes of highly radioactive waste and increase nuclear proliferation. There are alternatives like wind power, which is not only cleaner than nuclear power but it is cheaper. The time has come to turn away from dirty and dangerous energy generation", concluded Vande Putte.

A new Greenpeace report demonstrates that offshore wind power alone could provide Europe with one third of its electricity needs (2). The International Energy Agency last year published a report demonstrating that with energy efficiency in households alone the equivalent energy output of 40 large nuclear power plants could be saved (3).

With the immediate closure of the most dangerous reactors, the market for clean energy will be boosted, generating more jobs and more security. Greenpeace is calling on the European Commission to take a lead in promoting renewable energy development by declaring a target of 20% by 2020 at the upcoming intergovernmental conference on Renewables to be held in Bonn in June.

Notes to editors: (1) Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Summary of GRS study - Protection of German nuclear power plants against the background of the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001at: german report: http://www.greenpeace.org/multimedia/download/1/423085/0/GRS_risk_crash_on_npp-german_version.pdf

English version: http://www.greenpeace.org/multimedia/download/1/423087/0/Summary_on_GRS_reactor_study_translation_eng.pdf

(2) Greenpeace International, Sea Wind Europe. Published on feb. 29th 2004. Can be downloaded at http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/seawindeurope

(3) IEA-OECD, Cool Appliances. Policy Strategis for Energy-Efficient Homes. Paris, 2003. The report demonstrates that for the 22 OECD countries, electricity demand for households could decrease from 2,341 billion kWh in 2000 to 2,012 billion kWh in 2010.

Danger to German nuclear power plants from crashes by passenger aircraft Dr. Helmut Hirsch - Hannover, November 2001 at: http://www.greenpeace.org/multimedia/download/1/423096/0/Hirsch_report_aircrashrisk_eng.pdf


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