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Greenpeace Protests Atomic Agency's NUKE Promotion

Greenpeace protests against Atomic Agency's promotion of nuclear proliferation

Vienna, Austria - At the opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Annual General Meeting today, Greenpeace denounced the role of the Atomic Agency in promoting nuclear power and thereby aiding the spread of nuclear weapons. Greenpeace calls on the world's governments to engage in a diplomatic process in the Middle East, instead of escalating the confrontation with Iran.

Forty activists attached a banner in front of the UN building in Vienna with the text: 'IAEA = NUCLEAR POWER = NUCLEAR BOMBS'. A flying 6-metre long nuclear bomb with 'IAEA' on it flew above the IAEA venue and a nuclear missile with 'NUCLEAR POWER = NUCLEAR BOMBS' was deployed in front of the entrance.
"Nuclear power is not only dirty, dangerous and economically insane, it also generates the very materials that can be used for nuclear bombs," said Jan Vande Putte of Greenpeace.

Even the Director General of the IAEA Dr. ElBaradei recognises that 35-40 countries with nuclear power are capable of developing a nuclear weapon within a few months (1).
The only solution to the current security and proliferation concerns in the Middle East is through the creation of a Nuclear Free Zone, a diplomatic process that will eliminate all weapons and nuclear technology in the region, and the rapid development of renewable energy. If the current crisis is to be resolved, the 'Nuclear Free Zone' in the Middle East, must include the abandonment of so-called 'civil' nuclear programmes because nuclear power equals nuclear bombs.

"Fifty years of promoting nuclear technology by the IAEA has only exacerbated the problem of nuclear proliferation. This promotional role is highly irresponsible and must be stopped. The IAEA should focus on its urgently relevant task of controlling and safeguarding, to the extent possible, the highly dangerous nuclear materials and technology in circulation," continued Vande Putte.

Greenpeace therefore calls for the scrapping of the IAEA's promotional function as part of the UN reform process underway, to heal it from its topical schizophrenia and to enable it to become a true nuclear watchdog.

The UN should promote renewable energy technologies which are peaceful, generate employment and prosperity to local communities and respect the environment. Wind energy in Europe is growing by more than 6,000 MW every year, the equivalent of 2-3 large nuclear reactors, while it takes the nuclear industry nearly 10 years to build one single reactor.

"The IAEA can only become a real nuclear watchdog if it stops feeding the very dragon it is supposed to be starving," added Vande Putte. "The IAEA should promote the phase-out of a dangerous and polluting technology which has been bypassed by a booming renewable energy industry."

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


Notes to Editors:
1). The Economist, October 16th 2003
2). Greenpeace report "The Real Face of the IAEA's Multilateral Nuclear Approaches" available at:
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/IAEAmultilateralnuclearapproachreport

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