Greenpeace says European banks under pressure to reconsider financing Jaitapur

Expressed concern about India’s continued faith in “safety” of nuclear technology

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Press release - March 23, 2011
Mumbai, 22nd March, 2011: Greenpeace today questioned India’s stated position that reactors were a “100% safe”. Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Yves Marignac, a renowned international consultant on nuclear and energy issues, said, “The idea that a major accident won’t happen is dead.” Referring in particular to the Jaitapur nuclear park, which is based on highly questionable EPR technology, he said, “The EPR is based on the same principle as older reactors and, being more powerful, presents even more potential for catastrophe. Its safety features are more complex but rely on the same confidence of engineers in their ‘probabilistic approach’ that has just taken a severe beating in Japan.”

Greenpeace confirmed that the top two largest banks in Germany, Deutsche Bank and the Commerz Bank, which had considered financing the construction of the world’s largest nuclear complex near the town of Jaitapur in Western India, had decided to cancel their participation. Early this year, India’s Nuclear Power Corporation (NPCIL) invited over a dozen large banks from around the world to participate in financing the Jaitapur project. While Germany’s Commerzbank turned down this invitation, other international banks such as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Citibank and Deutsche Bank expressed interest in participating in the project. “The developments in Japan clearly seem to have had an impact on banks financing Jaipatur”, said Karuna Raina, Nuclear Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace. “The fact that Jaitapur is located on a seismic zone is of grave concern to banks”, she added.

According to an RTI document received from the Geological Survey of India, the proposed Jaitapur project is located on a seismic zone 4[1] – with zone 5 being the highest. However, the promoters of the project claim that the site is on zone 3. “By changing the seismic zoning of Jaitapur from zone 4 to zone 3 the nuclear establishment is not just dabbling with points on the Richter scale but potentially with millions of lives”, Karuna said.

Also speaking at the press conference, Jan Beranek, Head of the Nuclear Energy Campaign for Greenpeace International addressed the international developments in the wake of the ‘nuclear emergency’ in Japan. “We are already seeing countries pulling out of or freezing their nuclear plans, including China, which had the most ambitious nuclear energy plans. There is a growing acceptance of the fact that nuclear technology is inherently dangerous. The world can now take a step to stop a ‘nuclear renaissance’ that can lead to grave disasters and choose sustainable energy instead.”

“The contention that nuclear energy is seen as a possible solution to the climate crisis is false.” says Jan Beranek.  The Energy Scenario report produced by the International Energy Agency shows that even if existing world nuclear power capacity could be quadrupled by 2050, its share of world energy consumption would still be below 10%. This would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by less than 4% (source: Energy Technology Perspectives 2010, IEA/OECD, June 2010).Pointing to the fact that nuclear would never be able to supply the world’s energy needs he said, “It’s time to stop our dangerous ambitions for a mickey-mouse climate solution that nuclear energy is.”

For more details contact:

Karuna Raina, Nuclear and Energy Campaigner – Greenpeace India, +91 9901799669,

Hozefa Merchant, Media Officer – Greenpeace India, +91 9819592410