Nuclear energy: Austrian Chancellor calls for EU-wide anti-nuclear referendum, Church urges ethical rethink.
Gianluca Faccio / Planet Next
Austrian Chancellor Werner Fayman (SPOe) restated yesterday his commitment in favor of a EU-wide referendum against nuclear power. Speaking in Saint Stephen Square to several thousand people gathered to remember the victims of Chernobyl, Fayman urged other European leaders to help organize the referendum, in order to counteract the “cynical” behavior of the pro-nuclear lobby. “Since Chernobyl 160 new nuclear power plants have been built, said the Chancellor, and we know that the nuclear lobby is anxiously waiting for the issue to be forgotten”.
Fayman promised a “hard battle” against the Slovakian nuclear power plant of Mochovce, belonging to Italian energy giant ENEL, which is due to be completed in 2012-2013: “Mochovce is 50 km away from the Austrian border and a nuclear incident would have dire repercussions on Austria and the whole of central Europe”.
Green leader Eva Glawischnig said that Fukushima is causing a reassessment of European energy policy. In any case, she added, “the entire nuclear industry must be shut down”.
Speaking at the same event, the Director of the Austrian Caritas organization, Michael Landau, read a message from Christoph Schoenborn, Archbishop of Vienna and President of the Austrian Bishops Conference (ABC). According to the message, an ABC document urges a global reassessment of nuclear power and underlines that “the ethical path towards the full respect of nature and human life is achieved through energy savings, sustainable development and renewable energy“. “It is necessary, concluded the message, to defend the value of human life against those who put it at risk out of mere profit motives”.