EU to finance a nuclear power plant in Romania?

Friends of the Earth Europe
December 12, 2001

NO TO EURATOM LOAN FOR CERNAVODA II

Brussels, Rome: (Dec.12th 2001): Today a large international coalition of ca. 35 environmental organizations started the campaign “Stop Euratom loan for Cernavoda II”.

Cernavoda II would be the second reactor of the only nuclear power plant in Romania. The Italian/Canadian consortium AECL Canada and ANSALDO is seeking to get a EURATOM loan from the European Commission. This second reactor is not needed for covering electricity demand in Romania and is only an increase of nuclear risk.

A coalition of all major Italian NGOs – among them Greenpeace Italy, Friends of the Earth Italy, WWF Italy – sent a letter of protest to the Italian government and the Italian export credit agency SACE against their financing of Cernavoda II. Today at 10.00 in the morning around 30 activists of Attac Italy and Campagna per la riforma della Banca mondiale started a demonstration “SACE out of Nukes” in front of the SACE office in Rome. It would be the Italian construction company Ansaldo receiving the state guarantee from SACE.

“Cernavoda II is the focus of our activities to stop the EU´s nuclear energy promotion – EURATOM. Its sole purpose is to support unwanted nuclear energy production, mainly outside the EU. Cernavoda is the only project in the pipeline that EURATOM is currently preparing. We will analyse the Environmental Impact Assessment, the Least cost study etc. and inform decision takers and the public about how the European Union is directly supporting the nuclear industry,” says Patricia Lorenz in the name of the FOE Europe network and several other environmental groups that joined the EURATOM campaign.

The first reactor at Cernavoda was put on the grid in 1996 and the second unit is between 20 – 30% complete. Since electricity consumption is steadily decreasing in Romania, the Cernavoda II reactor is superfluous. Moreover, Romania has a clear overcapacity installed and this new output is clearly intended for export, mainly EU market.

Although not yet officially, the European Commission seems to have decided that Cernavoda should be financed. Funding this project this would be clearly against the guidelines for EURATOM loans to non- EU countries. The 1994 Council regulation says that loans are to be used for safety upgrades, e.g. Soviet design reactors. The import of a Canadian CANDU reactor cannot be considered as falling into this category. Other safety problems occurring in Romania will not be solved by EU involvement, but will be further increased: Strikes of the NPP personnel, and a generally unreliable economic situation that also has a negative influence on nuclear safety.

Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen is scheduled to visit Romania on December 17th. “We ask Commissioner Verheugen not to give the nuclear industry a new reactor as a Christmas present that will leave the Romanians with more nuclear waste and more debts,” says Patricia Lorenz.

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