ASEAN Community Wants Cambodia to Facilitate Clean Energy Discussion

Press release - March 29, 2012
Phnom Penh –- Ahead of the ASEAN Summit this weekend, groups of civil society and youth volunteers today delivered a call to action to ASEAN leaders to work together to secure a safe and clean energy future for the people of the region.

As part of the call, the group, led by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Young Progressives of Southeast Asia, gathered at Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hand in a petition urging ASEAN heads of state to abandon nuclear plans and commit to investing in the region’s abundant, clean and safe renewable energy resources.  The petition was received by Dr. Seoung Ratchavy, Cambodia State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and chair of the ASEAN in behalf of Cambodia.

“Cambodia is chair of ASEAN and can set this imperative agenda.  We want to see ASEAN leaders enhance cooperation and promote constructive climate and energy solutions.” Says Kim Eng Yong, Member of YPSEA-Cambodia and President of People Centre for Development and Peace (PDP-Centre) a Cambodia based organization.

“ASEAN leaders must learn from Fukushima.  Nuclear reactors are fundamentally unsafe, and endanger lives and communities.  A year after the catastrophe, people are unable to return to their homes and rebuild their lives – the risks of radioactivity persist for generations.  Do we want that to happen to our own homes, to our own children?  Nuclear power can and should be avoided and Greenpeace is here to convince ASEAN leaders that renewable energy is the answer,” said Francis dela Cruz, Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia is a region with high potential to benefit from abundant clean energy sources such as wind and solar.  A report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council illustrates that modern energy systems based on energy efficiency and renewable energy can easily replace nuclear power.  Current energy trends also show that renewable energy (RE) power plants has outstripped nuclear power, with RE accounting 26% of all new power plants added to the worldwide electricity grid in the past ten years, compared to nuclear power stations representing just 2% of new installations in the same period.  In addition to removing a significant threat, renewables give the added benefits of better energy security, stable energy prices and millions of quality jobs.

However, while the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has strengthened the huge public opposition to nuclear in the ASEAN region and derailed nuclear plans, nuke proposals remain intact in power development plans across the region.  The governments of Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia in particular continue to indicate they are forging ahead with nuclear despite the risks and doubts forseen by experts, and the clamour for safer sources of electricity.

Nuclear power will expose the ASEAN region to grave risks -- nuclear disaster within the ASEAN would equate to a trans-boundary catastrophe.  

Through the petition, the ASEAN community is urging their leaders to:

  • Divert from the nuclear path laid down in the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone;
  • Command a process to repeal the nuclear development provision in the ASEAN Energy Cooperation Plan 2010-2015;
  • Cease any further nuclear development plans; and
  • Invest in renewable energy as the sustainable answer for energy demand in our region.

The Greenpeace exhibit “Shadowlands: Remembering Fukushima” is currently open to the public at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference at the Lucky Star Hotel, Phnom Penh, from March 29 to 31, 2011.  The exhibit, by award-winning photographer Robert Knoth and documentary maker Antoinette de Jong, shows the human cost of nuclear disaster.

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For more information:

Sukthawee Suwannachairop, Thailand Media Team Leader, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +66 83 841 2798

Francis dela Cruz, Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +66 894769977

Zelda Soriano, Policy Advisor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, , +63 9175949424

Yong Kim Eng, YPSEA-Cambodia Member & PDP-Center President, , 016 82 82 11, pdpcenter.org

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