Old nuclear reactors can’t save the climate

Today 240 activists are taking action across Europe to highlight the risk of ageing nuclear reactors.

Nuclear Action at Beznau Power Plant. 03/05/2014 © Greenpeace / Ex-Press / Flurin Bertschinger

There’s an ongoing action inside Tihange in Belgium. In Switzerland activists have unfolded banners inside the Beznau II, the oldest nuclear power plant in Europe. They also flew over with a paraglider and simultaneously in Sweden a banner was hung from the reactor roof top of Oskarshamn 2.

In Spain activists were attacked by a water cannon while taking action against Garoña, while in France activists blocked the entrance to Bugey and projection were made on Borssele in the Netherlands.

Projection At The Borssele Nuclear Power Plant. 03/05/2014 © Greenpeace / Jeroen Staats

See the map over where the actions are taking place.

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So why are hundreds of Greenpeace activists taking action today? Well it is because 44% of the reactors in Europe are just to old to still be on line. It’s common sense that as these aged and increasing decrepit nuclear reactors get older so the chances of serious faults in them increase. We demand that reactors older than their initial design lifetime should be closed immediately. We believe that for safety no further lifetime extensions should be granted.

Nuclear Protest In France. 03/05/2014 © Pierre Baelen / Greenpeace

Ageing reactors is an urgent issue in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK. Governments and regulators in these countries need to protect citizens in their own and neighbouring countries from the risk of a risk of a Fukushima tragedy in densely populated Europe.

Despite the upgrades and repairs, the overall condition of nuclear reactors deteriorates in the long term. Out of 151 operational reactors in EU, 66 are older than 30 years old, 25 are older than 35 years and 7 are older than 40 years old.

Activists Present Pension Letter To The Oskarshamn Power Plant. 03/05/2014 © Uffe Weng / Greenpeace

The report and website clearly shows that Europe can’t rely on old reactors to deliver the carbon reductions needed to save the climate and a single greenhouse gas reduction-target for 2030 is therefore out of the question. We need three binding European and national targets of 45% renewables, 55% carbon emissions cuts and 40% energy efficiency by 2030.

Isadora Wronski is a Powershift Energy Nuclear Coordinator at Greenpeace Nordic

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