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Austria plans anti-nuclear international conference

Andrea Bertolini / Planet Next


The Austrian government plans to hold an anti-nuclear international conference “in the next two or three weeks,” said this morning Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich (OeVP). He added that the government is currently looking for likely allies among the European Union countries, such as Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Ireland, which do not rely on nuclear reactor for their energy needs.

Among the issues to be debated at the conference, Berlakovich mentioned the “stress-test” for existing nuclear reactors in the EU, the question of liability for nuclear power plants and the transformation of Euratom into an agency promoting various forms of renewable energy. Euratom was initially created to coordinate the Member States’ research programmes for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and today helps to pool knowledge, infrastructure, and funding of nuclear energy.

The minister further suggested that, in the aftermath of the Fukushima incident, the issue of nuclear energy would have to figure more prominently in the negotiations for the reduction of CO2 emissions. The problem, he said in a radio interview, is that the countries which favor an increase in the reduction from 20 to 30% do so “while relying on nuclear energy,” an approach with which Austria disagrees. “It is unacceptable that the EU Commission in its projections until 2050 treats nuclear power as clean energy. Nuclear energy is not a sustainable form of energy… Besides, current technology is unsafe and can have serious repercussions on health and the environment. Thinking otherwise means refusing to listen to the message coming from Fukushima.”

Austria, long a passionate adversary of nuclear power, was instrumental in convincing EU Member states to institute EU-wide stress tests for nuclear plants. Chancellor Werner Feyman, in an interview to the daily Oesterreich, underlined today that “the tests must be undertaken by independent scientists. Where security is lacking, measures must be taken or the plant must be closed. But really: a truly safe and secure nuclear power plant is a contradiction in terms.” The EU Commission expects the reports on the stress tests to be completed by the end of the year.

(Pubblicato su Planet Next)