Greenpeace hangs nuclear banner on Eiffel Tower

Sarkozy using “Union for the Mediterranean” to push French nuclear power agenda

Press release - July 13, 2008
As the Union for the Mediterranean organised by French president Nicolas Sarkozy (1) launched in Paris today, Fifteen Greenpeace activists today hung a banner of a nuclear symbol on the Eiffel Tower (2). The banner was placed in circle of golden stars representing the EU. The stars sponsored by French state nuclear company Areva, have been on the tower since France took over the EU presidency on 1 July.

The banner was a message to those countries attending the Union for the Mediterranean launch, including all 27 EU member states as well as 17 nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea, that Sarkozy is using the summit to try to sell them French nuclear power. Greenpeace warns that the French president's dangerous agenda threatens to undermine climate protection, and put the security of the region at risk.

"The fact that Areva is sponsoring the EU stars on the Eiffel Tower gives a pretty clear indication about Sarkozy's agenda for the EU presidency, said Frédéric Mareiller, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner. "Sarkozy is using the Union for the Mediterranean in his attempt to hijack the EU presidency to promote his dangerous nuclear agenda.

"Sarkozy is clearly confused. He seems to forget he is the French president and instead is playing the part of a nuclear salesman" added Mareiller.

Since coming into power in May 2007, Sarkozy has been aggressively promoting nuclear energy and attempting to sell French reactors at every turn. His government has signed agreements on nuclear exports and cooperation with 9 Mediterranean and Middle East countries in the last year.

Sarkozy is desperately trying to sell the French designed European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), the flagship of the so-called "nuclear renaissance" despite the fact that the only construction attempts of the EPR, in Finland and France have been disastrous.

The Finnish Olkiluoto 3 reactor is two and a half years behind schedule, and costs have doubled to just short of €5 billion (2). The French nuclear safety authority shut down the French construction site after just 6 months due to chronic safety problems (3).

Nuclear energy undermines the solutions to climate change by diverting urgently needed resources away from the true renewable and energy efficiency solutions. Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution blueprint (4) shows that renewable energy, and greater energy efficiency can deliver half of the world's energy needs by 2050, without nuclear power

Other contacts: Greenpeace International press desk +31 207 182 470Jan Beranek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner, +31 651 109 558Frédéric Marillier, Greenpeace France, Nuclear Campaigner + 33 651 109 558Adélaïde Colin, Greenpeace France, Press Officer +33 6 84 25 08 25

VVPR info: Greenpeace International picture desk +44 7801 615 889

Notes: 1. Heads of state and government from the 27 EU nations and countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are meeting today in Paris to launch the Union of the Mediterranean, 43 countries in total. 2. www.olkiluoto.info 3. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/greenpeace-activists-block-french-nuclear-reactor260608 4. www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution

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