Greenpeace Condemns The European Commission's Attempts To "Re-Launch The Debate On Nuclear Power".
During the Biarritz Summit, the European Commission is presenting to the EU heads of state and governments a Commission communication on oil supplies following recent industrial unrest over high petrol prices.
Greenpeace believe that current concerns over the increases in prices of oil and energy security in Europe could be used to relaunch the debate on the role of nuclear power. The commission communication is the first stage of a review of all energy sources in Europe which will be addressed in a Green Paper on Security of Supply, to be released next month.
Earlier this week, during a public debate organised by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and WWF in Centre Borschette in Brussels, on energy policy in the EU, Mr. de Sampaio Nunes, head of the conventional energy unit in the Directorate General of Transport and Energy, stated that the Green Paper will be used to "re-launch the debate on nuclear power in Europe". EU Commissioner for Environment, Margot Wallstrom, who is opposed to nuclear power, has confirmed there will be a debate in the commission on the role of nuclear power as part of the debate on the Green paper. "The Commission's belief in the need for a debate on nuclear power ignores the discussions that have taken place throughout the Union on this topic. Over the last decades throughout the EU the public, the electricity utilities and politicians have rejected nuclear power for ecological and economic reasons", said Mike Townsley, Greenpeace's nuclear expert.
Currently seven of the fifteen Members do not have nuclear power, while Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden have decided to phase out nuclear power. In the EU, currently, there are no new nuclear reactors being built and none even ordered.
The release of the Green Paper will coincide with the next round of the Climate Convention (COP6) negotiations in Den Haag, Netherlands, on 13-24 November 2000. During these negotiations the proponents of nuclear power are hoping to have the technology incorporated into a program, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), to financially support "climate friendly" technologies. The nuclear industry is desperate for inclusion in the CDM in a final attempt to gain some environmental credibility and to try and increase its economic competitiveness.
EU Member States have come to a common position on nuclear power which rejects this technology as a solution to climate change. In June 2000 at the Environment Council they stated " COP-6 should adopt a positive list of safe, environmentally sound eligible projects based on renewable energy sources, energy efficiency improvements and demand side management in the fields of energy and transport"
Greenpeace is calling on the European Commission to reject nuclear power as a solution to security of energy supplies and climate change and to implement the real solutions which are energy efficiency and renewable energy. For more information: Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner, phone: +44 1835 840 234. Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner, phone: +49 30 440 58 960.
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