BNP told ‘play ball’ at French Masters and stop radioactive investments

Press release - 13 November, 2010
Paris, France, 13 November 2010 –Greenpeace activists at the French Masters’ semi-finals, demanded that the events’ sponsor international banking giant BNP Paribas “stop radioactive investments”, including plans to fund an obsolete and dangerous nuclear reactor in Brazil.

Six activists hung two 11 square metre banners from the Palais Omnisport de Bercy, calling on BNP Paribas to cancel its plans to fund the construction of the nuclear reactor Angra 3, just 150 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro. BNP, which provides more finance to nuclear industry than any other bank in the world (1), plans to be part of a French banking consortium that would provide a reported €1.1billion for the project.   

“While BNP Paribas uses its sponsorship of the French Masters to advertise its services, spectators should also be aware of its planned role in funding the construction of a dangerous and obsolete nuclear reactor in Brazil. Its customers should call a fault and demand BNP Paribas stops misusing their money. BNP Paribas should announce immediately that it will be part of team promoting renewable energy in Brazil,” said Jan Beránek Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner.  

The construction of Angra 3 started in 1984 and stopped in 1986, following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when banks withdrew their funding. Most of the equipment that would be used to finish the reactor pre-dates Chernobyl and has languished on the site for the last quarter of a century. It would not be permitted to be used in the countries that are financing the completion of the reactor as it is now dangerously obsolete. (2)  

Furthermore, the site is only accessible via a single road, which is frequently blocked due landslides.  And, as is the reality for all nuclear reactors, there is still no permanent or safe solution for storing hazardous nuclear waste, which remains lethal for millennia. There has been no proper safety analysis in clear violation of international standards (3); the legality of the project is in serious doubt. In July, a Brazilian public prosecutor called on the Brazilian electricity company Eletronuclear and the nuclear safety commission CNEN to stop the project as a result of these issues (4).

“BNP must stop playing this dangerous game and betting on dangerous, obsolete nuclear technology. It needs to become a champion and take the lead by backing a winning strategy based on clean, renewable energy sources,” said Sophia Majnoni d'Intignano, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner.

Contacts  

Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner, tel: +31 651 109 558  

Sophia Majnoni d’Intignano, Greenpeace France Nuclear Campaigner, + 33 6 26 79 62 28  

Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International Communications, tel: +44 (0) 7717 802 891  

For photos and video of: the action, of Angra nuclear power station and the affected local community:

John Novis, Greenpeace International photo desk, tel: +31 62900 1152;

Maarten van Rouvery, Greenpeace International video desk, tel: +31 646197322

Notes to editors:   

(1) BNP invested €13.5 billion in nuclear energy projects from 2000-2009. Profundo, independent investments consultancy research. Summary of the findings, as well as full report

(2) Angra 3 falls far behind current generation of reactor technologies, which themselves suffer safety problems, construction delays and skyrocketing costs. Any large-scale upgrades and adaptations required to integrate new safety requirements will lead not only to higher construction costs, but also increase the risk of unplanned outages during its operation.

(3) International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Requirements stipulate that the probabilistic safety assessment is performed and evaluated prior to construction. This has not been done for Angra 3 as is pointed out in both the official license from Brazil’s nuclear regulator CNEN (Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear)as well as from ISTEC German report   

(4) Brazilian’s Public Attorney’s Office, Federal Attorney in municipality of Angra dos Reis, Recommendation, 24July 2010