24 June 2008, France - Greenpeace activists block the entrance of the quarries where gravel and sand are taken to the site of the EPR nuclear reactor in Flamanville.
The activists have been blocking three quarries that supply the
gravel and sand for the concrete needed to build the foundations of
the reactor. The peaceful direct action is in response to the
French Nuclear Safety Authority's (ASN) decision to allow
construction to resume.
The ASN has done this despite the fact that none of the safety
problems that stopped building in the first place has been
The reactor is a
European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), the flagship of the
so-called "nuclear renaissance". So far, construction of the EPR
has only started in Finland and France and both experiences have
UPDATE : 27 June 2008 After 60 hours our activists were
removed from the last of the three quarries, by which time they had
prevented almost 400 deliveries of gravel.
Determined to continue we have moved our activities to the town
of Caen in Normandy where we are now blocking the concrete supplier
which provides all the concrete used in the construction of the
Update : 30 June 2008 We are continuing the blockade and
are still preventing concrete pouring at the nuclear construction
site from resuming.
Chronic safety problems
In May, the ASN ruled that construction at Flamanville must
stop. It did this because of chronic problems that have affected
the quality of the construction work since building began in
December 2007. These include issues relating to the quality
control; problems with reinforcement and concrete for the
foundations and with metal and welding.
Basically, the French nuclear industry was unable to pour
concrete for the base correctly. It's a discovery that gives little
confidence that they will be able to handle masses of radioactive
ASN reversed its decision, so we had to take action
On Wednesday the activists stopped some 3000 tonnes of gravel
(30 lorry loads going 4 times a day) from being taken from the
quarries. Some activists have been evicted, but the blockade
continues - with more people arriving from across Europe.
Greenpeace "eye in the sky" airship delivers "Non! to nuclear"
message to Finland
The problems at Flamanville echo those of the first EPR
construction site, Olkiluoto
3, in Finland. At the same time as the French blockade, a
Greenpeace airship is delivering a clear anti-nuclear message in
The 43-metre long black and yellow "eye in the sky" airship
bears a banner showing a shattered radiation symbol and the words
"Non Merci!" On Tuesday it flew by the Finnish reactor site.
Since construction began in 2005, the estimated costs of the
reactor have nearly doubled to just short of €5 billion- and yes,
it is taxpayers who are left to foot the bill. Two and a half years
behind schedule it has been plagued with safety problems. A list
produced by Finnish regulators included 1500 "quality deviations" -
read faulty. Finnish energy industry figures show, that when, and
if, it finally comes online it will only deliver a third of the
greenhouse gas emission reductions originally promised.
Nuclear power undermines solutions to climate change
The "Non Merci!" message is in French because it's a direct
communication to the French government and the state-owned
companies EDF and Areva, who are not only attempting to build in
Flamanville, but are aggressively promoting the fault-ridden
reactor design across the world, claiming it to be a low-cost
Here's the thing: despite the multi-billion Euro spin of the
nuclear industry, nuclear power undermines climate protection, by
diverting urgently needed resources away from real solutions. Our
Energy [R]evolution blueprint shows that renewable energy, and
greater energy efficiency can deliver half of the world's energy
needs by 2050, without nuclear power.
Governments must heed the stark warnings from Olkiluoto and
Flamanville and just say "Non!" to France's dodgy nuclear
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