Remember Fukushima...

Make ASEAN nuclear-free!

Press release - March 9, 2012
Makati City, 09 March 2012 - Greenpeace today called on the governments of ASEAN to heed the lessons of Fukushima by abandoning their nuclear ambitions and revamping their existing energy policies in favour of measures that promote energy efficiency and greater use of clean, renewable energy.

Citing findings from its independent investigations of the 2011 meltdown as contained in the newly released report, "Lessons From Fukushima," the group stressed that Fukushima became a bigger disaster not because of forces of nature, but because of the past and tragic predisposition of industry and government regulators to secure the interests of the nuclear industry, instead of ensuring public welfare and safety. [1]

Greenpeace warns that such a disaster could be repeated at any nuclear plant in the world, and that major meltdowns have taken place every decade for the last 50 years that nuclear plants have been around, which runs contrary to assurances by the industry that such accidents have low probability. 

The environment watchdog has launched a petition [2] asking the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to divert from the nuclear path it laid down in the Treaty of Bangkok [3] and repeal the nuclear development provision in the ASEAN Energy Cooperation Plan 2010-2015 [4],

"We invite all citizens of ASEAN member states to join Greenpeace in delivering a strong call to action to our ASEAN leaders to learn from the lessons of Fukushima. We call on our governments to drop current and future plans to develop nuclear and instead focus public resources in enabling the rapid uptake of this region's abundant clean, safe, renewable energy resources, and the adoption of energy efficiency measures", said Francis Dela Cruz, Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace made the rounds of ASEAN members' embassies today with the Call-to-Action, and will deliver the petition to ASEAN Heads of States at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia during the end of March.

Although nuclear plans have been delayed in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, largely due to the huge public opposition following Fukushima, there is still a strong pro-nuclear industry lobby of ASEAN leaders.  In the Philippines, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) has been the center of controversy for the last several decades.  

The plant was never operated due to never-ending questions regarding its supposed safety features, which were upgraded but never passed scientific scrutiny.  Filipinos continue to pay around P23 million annually to keep the facility "maintained" and, for the last several years, proposals have been floating around to rehabilitate BNPP and start the nuclear age in the country. The Department of Energy's budget during President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's term still provides for research into nuclear options.

"We should have learned by now, Fukushima should be the last meltdown," said Dela Cruz. "The Fukushima disaster was ultimately caused by the Japanese authorities choosing to ignore risks and making business a higher priority than safety.  Nuclear energy is inherently unsafe. By simply keeping the nuclear power option open, ASEAN leaders are distracted from implementing safe and clean energy solutions. 

Greenpeace is calling for a global phase out of nuclear power by 2035. [5]

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Contacts:

Francis Dela Cruz, Climate & Energy Campaigner, +63 917 854 2103, +63 2 3321807 loc 118

JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, +63 917 631 2750, +63 2 3321807 loc 109,

 

Notes:

[1] Executive Summary and the Lessons from Fukushima report

[2] Online petition

[3] In 1995, ASEAN entered into a Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, often referred to as the Bangkok Treaty. This Treaty serves to protect the region from destructive nuclear weapon development and use and has provisions for the early notification of nuclear accidents. It also indicates that State Parties have the freedom and right to use nuclear energy towards economic development and social progress, thereby tying the entire region into a common energy future.

[4] The ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation 2010-2015 aims to reduce regional energy intensity (energy consumed per dollar of GDP) by at least 8 percent by 2015 from the 2005 level. The plan also sets a strategic goal of having 15 percent of total power capacity installed by 2015 coming from regionally-derived renewable energy. The 2nd ASEAN Energy Demand Outlook published by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) estimates that nuclear energy will help achieve these targets by contributing 0.9 percent of the regions' total power capacity by 2010 and 1.6 percent in 2030.

[5] Greenpeace is advocating for an "Energy [R]evolution," a shift in the way energy is sourced, produced and distributed, with a strong emphasis on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, as well as the elimination of the world's reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. http://www.energyblueprint.info

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