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Greek anti-nuclear activists want the closure of Kozloduy NPP and the ‘freezing’ of Belene

18 March 2011 / 22:03:05  GRReporter
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What is the Association’s opinion concerning the Kozloduy NPP and Belene in Bulgaria?

We started to deal with Kozloduy NPP early in the 1980 when everyone in Greece believed that there was no danger. An International Congress was held in Drama in 1994, which was attended by scientists from Bulgaria, who presented to us the actual extent of the danger of the operation of the plant. Later, the European Union also realized this danger and several repairs have been made. But they were made using an East German technology, so the Kozloduy NPP is a technologically outdated nuclear power plant.

In theory, the life cycle of every plant is 30 years. We say this because the electricity produced is smaller in amount compared to the total energy produced. This remaining energy automatically converts certain elements in high-level radioactive waste. They are usually buried in the area around the nuclear plant. Thus the ground is polluted with radiation from its waste products and becomes very dangerous. So, Japan's fears were related mostly to the containers in which waste products are stored. They would cause much greater toxicity in the environment than the reactor itself.  

Therefore, we believe that Kozloduy NPP should be closed and Bulgaria should seek other ways to ensure its energy independence. The country could develop other energy sources.

Representatives from various environmental organizations from all Balkan countries and Germany visited Belene two years ago. The construction of this plant had started during the communist rule in Bulgaria with Soviet specifications. For this reason, many environmental organizations have put pressure on the German bank that would fund the construction not to do it, arguing that it was not right for Germany to fund the construction of a new plant like the one in Chernobyl in Europe. At the same time, the value of the project jumped tenfold after the political changes, so it was "frozen".

We heard some time ago that the construction will eventually be restarted, but I hope that this will not happen after what occurred in Japan.

You said in an interview that you doubt the veracity of the International Atomic Energy Agency reports. Would you tell us more about that?

I am glad that you offer me the chance to clarify what I meant. This is not about some "mysterious conspiracy" but for written documents. The International Atomic Energy Agency was established in 1959, shortly after the advent of atomic bombs. People then accepted to ​​use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as a very good idea and no one could blame them for this. Many years have passed since then, however, and it has been proven already that this argument is wrong. Nuclear power is neither clean, nor cheap, nor green.  

In the same year of its establishment, the IAEA signed a contract with the International Health Organization of the United Nations aimed at protecting human life throughout the planet. The text of the contract mentioned that it was "urgent to introduce some restrictions in publishing secret information which is exchanged between the two organizations." So, although the relevant UN Secretaries General made speeches of the consequences of the outbreak of the reactor on each anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, on the 20th anniversary the World Health Organization issued a report which presented data from only 350 western sources, although there are over 30,000 publications and over 170 000 reports worldwide.

Therefore, our federation, after 20 years of waiting, issued a report in 2009 containing the results of 5000 scientific works. The collection of data, which were summarized by two scientists from Russia and Belarus, was translated into English and published under the responsibility of the Academy of Sciences in New York. We were able to learn in this way about the real dimensions of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.

25 years have passed since the events then and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War organized on that occasion a congress in Berlin, which will present more recent data. Unfortunately, the consequences have not disappeared, because as I mentioned, the elements remain in the body and cause different health problems. We will monitor this process for many years, because problems are transmitted to succeeding generations when the radiation affects the chromosomes. So, our view is that we should not compare the vast number of people who lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami with the effects of radiation on the people of Japan. They will continue for many years and will cause continuous damage to the health and lives of the people affected by radiation. A comparison with Chernobyl is not just because there was one reactor there and we are talking about six here. And in response to the argument that there are survivors of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I would like to say that a reactor contains a thousand times more radiation than in a nuclear bomb as those that have been dropped on Japan during the World War II.

In your opinion, have the events in Japan prompted a reorganization of the international anti-nuclear movement?

Tags: SocietyAnti-nuclear movementKozloduy NPPBeleneRenewable energy sources
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