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Nuclear energy is not an alternative

European and Global Greens stand for a transition to sustainable renewable energy
European and Global Greens stand for a transition to sustainable renewable energy
On March 11 2011, disaster struck Japan. An earthquake hit the country and resulted in a tsunami. This tsunami struck the eastern coastal region of Fukushima, where the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant was located. The plants’ infrastructure wasn’t equipped for this kind of pressure and a nuclear accident occurred. Three separate reactors of the plant went into a state of meltdown.

Fukushima was the largest nuclear incident the world had seen since Chernobyl, on April 26 1986. It is a harsh reminder once again of the risks nuclear energy poses to our health and environment. Chernobyl resulted in the deaths of thousands and Fukushima should have spelt the end of the nuclear industry. However, we’re far from it, and this simply has to change. The technology is extremely high risk, both for our own safety as well as the environment around us. Nuclear fallout can have a devastating impact, making regions completely uninhabitable for decades. Moreover, a nuclear accident does not respect national borders.

The current infrastructure and quality of nuclear plants in Europe is oftentimes too old and worn-down to still be in use. In the Belgian plants of Doel and Tihange, thousands of cracks have been discovered in the pressure vessels, yet the country’s authorities still decided to extend their lifespan. The list of ‘problem reactors’ doesn’t stop in Belgium. We’ve already had a near-accident in the Fessenheim plant, close to France’s borders with Germany and Switzerland, when a serious incident occurred where the reactor could not properly shut down due to jammed control rods. The plant was in effect out of control for minutes on end. This entire ordeal was completely covered up and has only recently been unearthed.

The problems in the nuclear sector are not just limited to present functioning plants. There are new plants in construction in multiple countries: Olkiluoto in Finland, Flamanville in France, Hinkley Point C in the United Kingdom and Paks II in Hungary. All of these projects are plagued with technical difficulties and delays, which result in enormous financial headaches. Hinkley Point C in England was scheduled to be completed in 2023 with an overall cost of £16 billion. In 2014, the estimated cost had increased to a whopping £24.5 billion. In Flamanville, France, the project was estimated to be completed in 2012 with a cost of €3.2 billion. Right now it is estimated to be finished in 2018 with a total price tag of €10.5 billion. The problems keep arising continuously.

Voices across Europe are continually rising and speaking up against the use of nuclear energy. On March 12, Ecolo and Groen (our local Green member parties in Belgium) are organising a demonstration in Belgium, and on March 19, our German Green member party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) will hold a demonstration in Berlin. The movement is growing, more people keep raising their voices and people across Europe are organising themselves locally.

The European Greens, greatly support this call. We are in full support of a true transition that moves us away from both fossil fuels as well as nuclear power. Nuclear power cannot be regarded as a viable alternative to fossil fuels and definitely not as a source of renewable energy. At this point in time it still is an ingredient of our energy mix, but that should be phased out as soon as possible in exchange for truly renewable and Green power. Nuclear power has no future. 


European and Global Greens stand for a transition to sustainable renewable energy


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