European Greens call for rapid exit strategy from nuclear power
Confronted with the results of the earthquake in Japan, we first and foremost express our deep compassion for those who have lost family, friends, houses, jobs, animals and who are struggling to survive or see beyond the devastation which now confronts them.
The European Green Parties call on all governments to prepare and execute, as soon as possible, an exit strategy out of nuclear power accompanied by an extensive programme that supports renewable energy production and energy saving policies.
It is clean energy that we believe in and promote. We all carry the responsibility to safeguard a clean energy production and consumption for now and in the future. Nuclear energy can never be 100% reliable and thus risk is always present. The risks of nuclear are as real now as they have always been, whether in terms of operation, fuel production or managing nuclear waste. Energy security cannot exist in a world with nuclear energy.
We are profoundly convinced that we share a common responsibility towards the Japanese people who are now suffering from the current accidents. Therefore the European Greens call on governments in member states and the EU to mobilise all possible assistance to help the worst-affected areas to rebuild and recover.
Nuclear energy is not sustainable in light of the scarcity and potential depletion of necessary resources - primarily uranium. There also remains a very serious problem of how to dispose of the millions of cubic meters of radioactive waste produced. Most of this waste must be stored in interim storage facilities for many decades which raises serious safety concerns. Aside from the radioactivity, the risks of acts of terrorism, military misuse and extreme weather conditions are additional causes for anxiety.
The handling of the radioactive waste further increases the risks for incidents and accidents, and the exposure of personnel and population to radiation incurred when problems do arise causes irreparable damage to individual health and the environment. The hazards detected show that long-term safety cannot be guaranteed. Even after more than 50 years of using nuclear energy, no country has developed an implemented and functioning waste management strategy for all kinds of radioactive waste.
We therefore call for a quick phase out from this dangerous, costly and dirty energy source. We have alternatives and now governments should listen more to reality than to manipulative industry lobbies. In several European countries the nuclear industry scored some important points in terms of prolonging the lives of old plants. We call upon these governments to withdraw their plans, not with a three months moratorium, but with a real change towards secure and sustainable energy production.
The EU and its member states have to abandon their commitment to the high risk technology of nuclear power and start a phase-out now. For this, European leaders must urgently set out plans to make the goal of a 100% renewable energy based economy by 2050 into a reality. This involves an immediate freeze of all new reactors, either planned or under construction.
The European Greens express their fervent wish that those who have survived this terrible natural catastrophe will not have to suffer further with the effects of a nuclear disaster. We call for urgent steps to be taken, in the context of the rescue efforts, to protect the population of Japan and the region against any possible radiation.
Click to here to read background information on our position on nuclear
Click here to read reactions on the Fukushima disaster from across Europe
Click here for the speech by Pavlo Khazan of the Green Party of Ukraine and here for the presentation at the European green party Council Meeting in Budapest