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Don't Nuke the Planet!

WECF organizes anti-nuclear protest at Climate Conference in Bali (text in English and German)

13.12.2007 |Sabine Bock

Anti-nuclear protest in front of the media center on December 13th, on Bali

Reuters News broadcasted a clip which was focussed on this morning's anti-nuclear protest in front of the media center in Bali on the morning of Thursday the 13th. WECF's Energy & Climate Coordinator Sabine Bock was present at this protest

Bali/Indonesia, December 13, 2007.

While ministers keep flying in for the last days of talks at the climate convention tension is growing over the kind of solutions the world will come up with to battle climate change. Although there is some optimism over the overall outcomes we are unfortunately also seeing some serious threats arising.

Nuclear energy is again too often being mentioned as part of the solution. In the year 2000 the global environmental community managed to keep nuclear out of the Kyoto protocol. Without a UN rubberstamp of approval it is impossible for the nuclear industry to overcome the institutional hurdles they are facing.

As Peer de Rijk of WISE states "We call Climate Conference to take a stand against nuclear power. It would not only give hope to millions of people around the globe but would also help speed up the climate negotiations. The constant talks about nuclear energy are a deadlock in themselves".

There are many arguments why nuclear energy should not be considered as part of the solution to climate change:

Too unsafe

"Promoting nuclear energy to countries which are exposed to extreme weather events, seismic activity and other natural catastrophes, is irresponsible. There are much better ways to achieve the Millenium Development Goals and give people access to energy", so said Sabine Bock, WECF. The physicist Karin Wurzbacher adds: "It is proved now that children the risk of childhood cancer in our youngest children under 5 years, living in the vicinity of operating power plants is statistically significant increased. Each child getting ill by cancer is one child too much."

Too little

Nuclear energy does contribute to climate change as it emits greenhouse gases comparable with the amounts of a modern gas fired power station if the whole life-cycle is taken into consideration. It takes enormous amounts of energy to extract uranium, to enrich and transport it, to build and dismantle nuclear power stations and to build and maintain waste facilities. As the easily accessible uranium resources are nearing their peak it will take even more energy in the future to extract it, thus increasing the related CO2-emssions. In fact, using nuclear power will be counterproductive at reducing carbon emissions. As Claire Greensfelder of Plutonium Free Future and the International Forum on Globalization points out, "Nuclear Power continues to be a false solution to the very serious problem of climate change that we are facing today.Every dollar invested in expanding the nuclear industry will worsen climate change by creating less investment in the real solutions of solar, wind, geothermal, conservation and energy efficiency."

Too dangerous

Even after the disastrous experiences in the Ukraine(Chernobyl), the recent serious accident in Niigata, Japan, and the very-close-to- disaster in Forsmark, Sweden the nuclear power stations that are currently being built (as in Finland) are not inherently safe. To make it worse, we are still building or planning to build nuclear power stations with obsolete technology from the 1970's and 1980's (Belene in Bulgaria). "The world just can't take another disaster as we had in the Ukraine, Christina Hacker of the German Umweltinstitut stated. "It's simply too dangerous to take the risk". Gloria Hsu (TEPU) added "using nuclear to reduce GHGs is like drinking poison to quench your thirst".

Too unfair

Nuclear power carries an inherent injustice to the land-based indigenous people and local people of the world. "They often carry the burden of the contamination because on their territories the uranium is mined and the nuclear wastes are often stored", so said Svitlana Slesarenok, Black Sea Women´s Club, Ukraine.

Too expensive

It costs about 3.5 billion dollar to build one single nuclear power station. That is if no cost-overruns occur. So far,experience does not lead to any optimism about the cost of development of nuclearpower. Two years after construction started on the 5th nuclear power station in Finland (Olkiluoto) costs have already risen 800 million

Euro'smore than anticipated. "It's a waste of money.It will be the public that pays-no matter how the financial package is being structured" says Dian Abraham of the Indonesian Antinuclear Society (Manusia).

Too dirty

Nuclear power will already continue to pollute the planet with dangerous radiation for hundreds of generations to come. There is also the problem of the radioactive wastes for which we have no solution and which has to be kept isolated from the earth's fragile ecosystems for 240.000 years.We have the serious problem of a radioactive waste legacy at uranium mines across the planet, often on indigenous peoples lands, and we are constantly risking accidents with nuclear materials transports. The nuclear fuel chain is an extremely complicated one, with nuclear material being constantly transported across the globe from one plant to another, to temporary waste storage. According to Victor Menotti of the International Forum on Globalization "it's time to put an end to this false solution to climate change.Don't nuke the climate! It won't solve the Triple Crisis of climate change, oil depletion (peak oil), global resource depletionand species extinction that we are facing today. It's time to look for real solutions and for the UNFCCC to say a definitive no to the nuclear industry."

Too late

Even if we would only replace the nuclear power stations that will reach their expected life-time in the coming two decades we would need to build 80 nuclear powers stations (NPP) every ten years. The nuclear industry has had to face serious setbacks in the past few decades in their capacity to build as more and more countries were choosing not to go nuclear. It takes at least ten years to get a NPP online. "Even with 50 years of experience and enormous financial support from the public sector the nuclear industry fails to deliver reliable, clean and safe energy" says Vladimir Slivyak, of Ecodefense (WISE Russia). "Given the crisis we need to solve they are just far too late".


Supporting organizations:

WECF, Women in Europe for a Common Future - WISE, World Information Service on Energy - WISE South Africa (Earthlife) -Ecodefense (WISE Russia) - International Forum on Globalization - Plutonium Free Future - NIRS, Nuclear Information & Resource Service - MANUSIA, Indonesian Antinuclear Society - KRATON, Balong - AM2PN,Madura - IGJ, Institute for Global Justice - SHI,Sarekat Hijau Indonesia - Munich Environmental Institute - TEPU, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union - Black Sea Women`s Club -


- Sabine Bock, WECF +49-89.232393812

- Vladimir Slivyak, Ecodefense/WISE Russia + 6281338989721

- Dian Abraham, MANUSIA, + 62 8159487094

- Peer de Rijk, WISE + 31 6 20 000 626

here you can watch Reuters TV newsclip which is partly focused on this

morning's anti-nuclear action at UN climate conference in Bali.