Greenpeace labels Sarkozy's EPR announcement "lunacy"

Press release - 3 July, 2008
Greenpeace today condemned French President, Nicolas Sarkozy's announcement of plans to build a second European Pressurised nuclear Reactor (EPR) in France (1). The decision comes just three days after France took over the EU Presidency.

"Only a blind man could fail to see that the EPR has been an absolute disaster" said Aslihan Tumer, of Greenpeace International.  "Sarkozy's announcement is nothing short of lunacy. He should be cancelling the construction of France's current EPR, not ordering a new one.

"This decision breaks his clear promise that renewable technologies and energy efficiency would lead France's energy pathway. Instead he is harking back to an outdated and irrational strategy that allows the nuclear industry to dictate France's energy policy. He is clearly not a man to be trusted."

The French designed EPR is the flagship of the so-called "nuclear renaissance", aggressively promoted by the French nuclear industry as a low-cost "mature" technology, needed to fight the climate crisis. So far, construction of the EPR has only started in Finland and France, both experiences have been disastrous.

Building of the EPR at Flamanville, France was recently halted due to chronic safety problems affecting the quality of the construction work (2). In Finland costs for the construction of the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) EPR have doubled to nearly €5 billion, the reactor has 1500 safety and quality deviations, and is two and a half years behind schedule (3).

Despite the multi-billion Euro spin of the nuclear industry, nuclear power undermines climate protection, by diverting urgently needed resources away from real solutions. OL3, for example, has left Finland way off track for meeting its greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Greenpeace's 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 (4).

Other contacts: Aslihan Tumer, Greenpeace International, Nuclear Campaigner +31 (0)6 46 16 20 22Frédéric Marillier, Greenpeace France, Nuclear Campaigner + 33 (0)6 73 89 55 04Greenpeace International press desk +31 (0) 207 182 470

Notes: 1. Sarkozy made the announcement to workers at the Le Cresut industrial site in central France. 2. On 27 May 2008 the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) suspended construction on the concrete base of the EPR at Flamanville. In June, despite the fact that none of the safety problems halting construction in the first place had been addressed, the ASN allowed building to restart. Greenpeace activists successfully blockaded gravel, sand and concrete supplies to the site for 9 days. See 4.

Exp. contact date: 2008-08-03 00:00:00