Greenpeace and Bankwatch action in Kiev: EBRD against nuclear safety?

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Feature story - 7 December, 2012
Today 22 activists from Greenpeace and Bankwatch Network held an action against EBRD plans to fund Ukraine’s nuclear energy development.

07 December 2012

At 11 a.m the activists with alpine equipment climbed the EBRD building and unfolded a banner: THE ONLY SAFE REACTOR – CLOSED REACTOR!!! On the building opposite to the office they placed another banner: EBRD LOOKING FOR SAFETY? HELP CLOSE OLD REACTORS!

Other activists were holding banners: GO RENEWABLE! STOP NUKES!, NO BUCKS FOR NUKES!

Principal advisor for external affairs at EBRD office in Ukraine Anton Usov came out to meet with the NGOs, and they handled him a letter with an appeal to give up financing Ukraine’s nuclear energy.

No one was detained. The bank's securities tried to remove the banner, but did not succeed. It still remains on the building.

EBRD is considering a loan worth 300 million Euro to Ukraine’s state energy company Energoatom for the project called “Ukraine nuclear power plants safety upgrade program”.The loan is put on the EBRD Board of Director’s agenda on February 12, 2013.

Bankwatch and Greenpeace have studied the program and concluded that actually it will enable extension of the nuclear reactors operational lifetime.

“EBRD, the largest foreign investor in Ukraine, should not contribute to strengthening the country’s dependence on nuclear power, says Iryna Holovko, СЕЕ Bankwatch Network representative. Why does EBRD fund the extension of old Soviet reactors’ operational lifetime instead of their decommissioning?”

Jutta Matysek, Action coordinator at Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe comments: “European public money should support renewable energy, that will help Ukraine to overcome dependence on nuclear energy and imported carbon fuel in future. We hope that EBRD will consider this and choose not to enhance nuclear threat under the pretext of modernization. The country that still suffers from the terrible effects of the Chernobyl disaster will not survive another nuclear catastrophe”.

It’s dangerous because Ukraine’s nuclear power units are old: the lifetime of 12 out of 15 of them is expiring between 2010 and 2020. But Energy strategy of Ukraine till 2030 implies extension of their operation for extra 20 years. The Government adopted the program without discussing it with citizens and without estimating its impact on the environment, which contradicts the requirements of the UN Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters” (The Aarhus Convention).

Extension of operational lifetime for old reactors enhances emergency risks. In December 2010 the operation of the reactor #1 at the Rivne Nuclear Plant was extended by 20 years, and just one month later an accident occurred.

The Ukrainian Government plans to cover over 50% of the state needs in electricity with nuclear energy, but is not able to guarantee safety. By now the country has not made any investments into infrastructure for long-term storage and disposal/reprocessing of used nuclear fuel and wastes.

The action is a part of Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaign. In 1999 Greenpeace held and action at Siemens office in Kiev, demanding to give up financing of the Khmelnitsky-2 and Rivne-4 reactors’ construction. In 2000 Greenpeace convinced the Federal Republic of Germany to vote against EBRD funding for those reactors. On 21 September, 2012 Greenpeace addressed the president of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich with an appeal not to sign a bill enabling construction of 3 and 4th energy units at Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant.

In November, 2012 Greenpeace met with EBRD and urged the bank to include the ban to finance projects that are dangerous for environment, among them nuclear projects, in the bank’s strategy for 2013-2015. The action is supported by National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, Bankwatch’s member group in Ukraine.

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Posted 29 December, 2012 at 22:37 Flag abuse


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