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Greenpeace activist threatened with death

Greenpeace activist threatened with death

Vienna, 8 March 2005 - Greenpeace activist and leading nuclear opponent in Bulgaria, Albena Simeonova, has received threats on her life due to her public opposition to the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belene, north of the country. The environmental organisation, supported by other groups (1), calls on the Bulgarian Government to secure her safety and prevent these threats to happen again.

Simeonova,40,who is portrayed as an obstacle by the nuclear industry's interests, started to receive anonymous calls at the end of 2004. On February 23rd, two men showed up at her house door issuing death threats if she refused to stop her resistance against plans to build the nuclear power plant in Belene. The men also warned her to leave the region of Nikopol, her homeland.

"This is not only a serious threat against my life, it represents a threat to all who campaign against nuclear plants trying to protect their lives and the local environment," said Simeonova, who won the Goldman Award, dubbed as the Nobel Prize for the Environment, in 1996.

Simeonova is one of the leaders of a strong movement in Bulgaria that stopped plans for the construction of a nuclear power station near Belene in the early 1990s. The building plans were revived in 2003, and she was one of the first people to ask attention for the problems the project would create. She alerted national and international organisations on the upcoming plans and since has been one of the motors behind resistance against Belene.

"We are shocked to hear that her life is threatened due to her opposition to this nuclear project. She is a pioneer for a clean environment in Bulgaria. Belene is the real threat, not Albena Simeonova. This plant is completely unnecessary for Bulgaria and for the region," says Jan Haverkamp from Greenpeace International

Bulgaria has one of the largest renewable energy resources in the European Union, with massive potentials for wind energy, as well as geothermal and hydropower. With its large agricultural sector, Bulgaria could cover a significant part of its energy needs with renewable energy. These clean energy sources are economic, abundant, create thousands of jobs and pose no threat to human life and the environment.

Greenpeace opposes the construction of the Belene reactors and demands the Bulgarian Government to stop the production of nuclear power. They will generate highly radioactive waste and put the Bulgarian and European population at risk.

Notes to Editor:
1). Bankwatch and Friends of the Earth Europe

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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