Construction of the sarcophagus (cover) over the destroyed Chernobyl reactor.
Scientific studies have shown that the full consequences of the
Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancer cases
and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers. However the nuclear industry is
now attempting to exploit fading memories of the disaster. It's
attempting to revive its dangerous business. But, even 22 years
after Chernobyl the very same mixture of incompetence, political
and economic pressure, cover-ups and arrogance that lead to
Dangerous situations such as uncontrolled nuclear reactions,
near reactor melt down or failure of crucial safety systems, have
happened in the last ten years in Japan, US, UK, Sweden, Bulgaria
Spanish nuclear leak
The recent scandal we exposed in the Spanish Ascó nuclear plant,
again confirms this deadly pattern. Numerous errors and safety
system failures resulted in radioactivity being released.
Initially, the management did not report the accident to the
nuclear safety authority nor did they warn the public. In fact,
several groups of school children were visiting the plant while the
leak was ongoing. When radioactive particles were found on public
land, the plant's operators were forced to admit the accident, but
with the cooperation of the state safety authority the scale of the
accident was downplayed for several days. The radioactive leak was
in fact several hundred times bigger than was initially announced,
more than a thousand people needed to be screened. Dangerous
radioactive particles were found as far as 60 kilometres away.
Greenpeace Spain has called for criminal charges against operator
and called upon the European Commission for an
The French nuclear industry is pushing for more global business,
but behind the PR the same failings remain. It's new "European
Pressurized Reactor" (EPR) project is promoted as being safer,
cheaper and more reliable. However, this new flagship of the
nuclear industry is already a
fiasco in Finland. After less then three years of construction,
it is two years behind schedule, 1.5 billion Euro over budget and
plagued by serious safety issues in its concrete base, reactor
vessel, piping and protective containment.
A second EPR construction started last December in France with
assurances it would be a model project. But, the list of problems
inspectors have discovered after just three months of construction
is damming: the reactor's concrete base has been poured
incorrectly, the concrete base slab for the reactor has developed
cracks, steel reinforcing bars have been wrongly arranged, in the
containment liner one-quarter of the welds are deficient. Hardly a
record to inspire confidence in any building project, let alone a
The nuclear industry remains mired in accidents, lies, cover-ups
and incompetence. Today's 'renaissance' reactors are threatening to
become tomorrow's Chernobyls.
Big banks say no to nuclear
Fortunately the nuclear industry's charm offensive is being
rebuffed. Two days before this year's anniversary of Chernobyl,
several banks announced that they would not put their money into a
construction of risky reactors at the Mochovce plant in Slovakia.
This withdrawal follows an international campaign by us and other
environmental groups across Europe and in Japan.
Nuclear power is more than fifty years old and has always been
expensive, dirty and dangerous. What we really need in the 21st
Centuary is an energy revolution that focuses on energy efficiency,
cleaner use of fossil fuels, renewables and state-of-the-art
decentralised power stations. Our report: '
Energy [R]evolution', details how to halve global CO2 emissions
by 2050, using existing technology and still providing affordable
energy and economic growth. A revolution in energy policy and
evolution in how we use energy.
There is no place for dangerous expensive nuclear power in
meeting future energy demand or in helping to avert catastrophic
climate change. Chernobyl should never be forgotten, but nuclear
power belongs in the past.
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