Right now the nuclear industry is mobilizing countless resources in an effort to convince the world that nuclear energy is a necessary part of solving our energy needs in the face of climate change. In reality, any investment in nuclear energy actively undermines real energy solutions to climate change by diverting huge amounts of urgently needed resources away from investment in the clean, safe and renewable power we must develop.

Until recently the role that commercial banks play in the nuclear energy sector hasn't been well understood. Most banks are happy to publish figures on their annual investment in renewable energy, while the amount they are investing in dangerous, dirty energy sources like nuclear they prefer to be kept secret – but no more:

The veil of secrecy has now been lifted thanks to the research done by a group of NGOs and public advocacy organizations, including Greenpeace International. It reveals the top financial institutions that are involved in bankrolling dangerous, dirty nuclear energy – just at the time when we need investment in clean, safe, renewable energy technologies. Last week our activists in France, Turkey, Luxembourg and Russia revealed banking group BNP Paribas as the top bankroller of the nuclear industry – investing more than any other bank in the world.

October 21st - Greenpeace activists drove a BNP Paribas-branded armoured truck through Paris to deliver bundles of 'radioactive money' to the nuclear industry, highlighting the relationship between commercial banks and dangerous nuclear energy projects. Images: Nicolas Chauveau / Greenpeace

The money required to build just one nuclear reactor is so much that even large corporations can't afford to do it alone - this is where large banks, like BNP Paribas, come in. Banks’ investments in the nuclear industry have managed to avoid public scrutiny because they are done via indirect routes like corporate loans and bonds: funds that can't be directly linked to a specific nuclear project. The ‘Nuclear Banks, No Thanks’ report exposes these funds to the scrutiny they previously avoided by making the links between commercial banking and the nuclear industry accessible to the public.

An example of the kind of nuclear projects these funds go towards is the construction of the Angra 3 reactor in Brazil, which BNP Paribas has plans to fund. This reactor will be built using out-of-date materials (from before 1986!) and does not meet current international standards in safety. The Angra 3 reactor will not only be dangerously obsolete, the money that will be spent to construct it should be used to fund safe, renewable sources of energy. Studies show that Brazil has vast potential to generate cheaper electricity from domestic renewable energy sources - like wind, hydro and biomass byproducts. Brazil's Excelencia Energetica Institute even demonstrated that wind turbines can deliver electricity at almost half the expect generating costs of the Angra 3 reactor.

We need to demand that banks like BNP Paribas stop making investments that fund dirty, dangerous nuclear energy projects like the Angra 3 reactor, when renewable energy technology is the clean, safe energy solution to climate change.

You can e-mail BNP Paribas today and ask them to stop radioactive investments.