Will French taxpayer again have to pay for nuclear plants in neighbouring country?
WECF is worried that nuclear industry is making promises which will not be kept
24.09.2008 |WECF Press Release
Utrecht/Munich/Annemasse - Today EDF (Electricité de France), the French Energy Company announced it has purchased British Energy, saying it is delighted about the prospect to build 4 new 3rd generation nuclear power-plants, for an amount of 7 billion Euro. The NGO Women for Europe for a Common Future (WECF), a network of 100 health and environment organisations, is worried that once more, nuclear industry is making promises, which will not be kept.
WECF executive director, Sascha Gabizon: “The French are currently finalizing a similar 3rd generation nuclear power-plant in Finland as the 4 plants to be build in the UK, for which the French tax payer is putting up part of the money”.
Kaisa Kosonen of Greenpeace Finland, speaking at a conference of WECF in Bonn, says “the Finish case of the Oikiluto-3 nuclear power plant is a perfect example of false promises. The nuclear power plant which is build by a French company AVERA, has doubled its price from the original budget, it is 2 years behind schedule, and by last summer there were 1500 quality and safety violations. There is been the suspicion, that AREVA is not so interested in safety, but in cutting down the cost. The cost was planned at 2,5 billion, the contract was signed about 3 billion, costs according to unofficial estimations, are at 5,2 billion Euro, the French government is subsiding the case via their export credit agency, COFACE.
Sascha Gabizon continues “if the UK nuclear power plants also end up costing more than 5 billion Euro each, the difference of 13,8 billion Euro might therefore be paid by the French tax payer, via an export guarantee instrument which is normally used for developing aid cooperation”.
Svetlana Slesarenok, Director of the NGO Black Sea Women Club of Ukraine, and chair of the WECF International Advisory Board, says ”The nuclear industry has had 40 years to try and achieve safe management of the nuclear cycle, but they have terribly failed, there is no reason at all that tax payers should continue to subsidize nuclear industry hoping that in the near future they will be able to guarantee the safety of Europe’s populations. Let me give you the example of Uranium, the nuclear industry is responsible for very bad human rights violations and human health problems around Uranium mines”.
Slesarenok continues: “In Ukraine, the uranium mining industry sells openly radiating building materials, containing low-radioactive uranium water. I myself lived in a house built with materials containing uranium waste and my baby son became very ill. In the same year, three babies died from the radiation in their houses built with uranium waste. Ukraine, in the Dniepropetrovsk region, also has the world-wide biggest liquid nuclear waste storage, a lake of 22 million cubic meters. In summer, when the lake shores dry up, the radioactive dust is spread through the air all over. Ukraine has not reached safe nuclear waste storage, and as we know, France, UK and Germany also still do not have a secure solution for their nuclear waste. Nuclear industry should first assure that they are responsible, from the extraction of uranium mining, till the storage of nuclear waste, and stop the spreading of nuclear substances in the world, currently the situation is fully out of control. We, as normal citizens, cannot be sure anywhere, of not be exposed to health risks from nuclear substances, not to even mention the risk of accidents like Chernobyl or terrorists using nuclear material.”
Sascha Gabizon adds, “I hope that the UK government have a good contract on how EDF will be paying the many billions for decommissioning the 4 new nuclear plants at the end of their lifetime. If we see the billions of Euro that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is paying for the cleaning up Sellafield and the Magnox nuclear stations, the French and UK tax payer might want to start saving money today to pay for the future costs of EDFs 4 new plants. The estimated £4 billion net profit the UK government is likely to make from the sale of 35% of British Energy to EDF, and which will probably go to the Nuclear Liabilities Fund, will be just a small part of funds needed to decommission all plants EDF will be responsible for”.
Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF)
WECF is a network of 100 organizations in Western and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia working on sustainable development, health and environment and poverty reduction. WECF strives for a Healthy Environment for All.
For more information, please
Sascha Gabizon, International Director WECF, + 49-1728637586
Chantal van den Bossche, Press Officer +31-6 2812 9992, chantal.vandenbossche @ wecf.eu
about our position on Nuclear Energy
Women in Europe, +31 30 2310300, www.wecf.eu , firstname.lastname@example.org,
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