End the nuclear age

Greenpeace has always fought - and will continue to fight - vigorously against nuclear power because it is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity. The only solution is to halt the expansion of all nuclear power, and for the shutdown of existing plants.

Nastya, from Belarus was only three years old when she was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus and lungs. According to local doctors the region has seen a huge increase in childhood cancer cases since the Chernobyl disaster.

We need an energy system that can fight climate change, based on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Nuclear power already delivers less energy globally than renewable energy, and the share will continue to decrease in the coming years.

Despite what the nuclear industry tells us, building enough nuclear power stations to make a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would cost trillions of dollars, create tens of thousands of tons of lethal high-level radioactive waste, contribute to further proliferation of nuclear weapons materials, and result in a Chernobyl-scale accident once every decade. Perhaps most significantly, it will squander the resources necessary to implement meaningful climate change solutions.  (Briefing: Climate change - Nuclear not the answer.)

The Nuclear Age began in July 1945 when the US tested their first nuclear bomb near Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few years later, in 1953, President Eisenhower launched his "Atoms for Peace" Programme at the UN amid a wave of unbridled atomic optimism.

But as we know there is nothing "peaceful" about all things nuclear. More than half a century after Eisenhower's speech the planet is left with the legacy of nuclear waste. This legacy is beginning to be recognised for what it truly is.

Things are moving slowly in the right direction. In November 2000 the world recognised nuclear power as a dirty, dangerous and unnecessary technology by refusing to give it greenhouse gas credits during the UN Climate Change talks in The Hague. Nuclear power was dealt a further blow when a UN Sustainable Development Conference refused to label nuclear a sustainable technology in April 2001.

The risks from nuclear energy are real, inherent and long-lasting.

The latest updates

 

Fukushima – INES scale rating

Publication | 25 March, 2011 at 19:15

A new analysis prepared for Greenpeace Germany by nuclear safety expert Dr Helmut Hirsch shows that by March 23 2011, Japan’s nuclear crisis has already released enough radioactivity to be ranked at Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event...

Nuclear Banks, No Thanks!

Publication | 10 August, 2010 at 11:30

Nuclear power is not only the most controversial and dangerous form of energy generation, it is also one of the most expensive. To raise the many billions of euros needed to build even a single nuclear reactor, utility companies therefore rely...

The deadly legacy of radioactive waste

Publication | 10 July, 2010 at 13:55

This briefing illustrates why - for now, and for the coming hundreds of thousands of years - the nuclear waste problem is here to stay and why we should stop wasting our time with nuclear power. It summarises some of the failed ‘solutions’ for...

Left in the dust

Publication | 4 May, 2010 at 8:00

AREVA’s radioactive legacy in the desert towns of Niger.

Renewables 24/7

Publication | 4 February, 2010 at 0:00

Smart grid or super grid, decentralised or centralised renewable power plants? The discussion about the future of our power supply is running hot, and hi- tech visions are everywhere.

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