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Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire Condemns India’s Purchase of French Nuclear Reactors on 26th anniversary of Bhopal

3 December 2010

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Réseau "Sortir du nucléaire", alliance of 873 associations to protect the environnement

http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/

Press Release :

India treats herself to two EPR for the 26th anniversary of Bhopal, in spite of a strong opposition from the local populations

Lyon 3/12/2010 - On the 26th anniversary of the Bhopal industrial catastrophe[1], Nicolas Sarkozy and his Indian counterpart made public an agreement guaranteeing the purchase of two EPR reactors from the French contractor Areva. The reactors would be built next to the city of Jaitapur, in the Maharashtra state, an earthquake prone zone[2] – level 4/5- which would significantly increase the risk of a new major industrial catastrophe in the country.

The two EPR reactors that are currently being built in France and Finland already suffer from important delays and over-costs. The budget for Flamanville is thus already overspent by, at least, 1,7 billion euros. The Indian Government is taking the wrong path of nuclear power, by investing in a very expensive and dangerous source of energy. Renewables such as wind or solar power are, on the other hand, already available and for the same amount of money invested, enable the creation of 15 times more jobs than nuclear power does[3].

A strong opposition from local populations

Three thousand local inhabitants got voluntarily arrested last November as a protest against this project[4]. The building of the two reactors threatens indeed not only the local fishing economy but also the health and security of the populations. The Indian Government refused on November 29 entry visas to scientists from the International Panel on Fissile Materials who had organized a meeting to discuss the Indian nuclear program[5]; as a reminder, India has yet not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

By imposing itself in spite of the People’s will, nuclear power demonstrates once again that it is not compatible with democracy. Whether in India or in France, nuclear power would not exist if the populations were consulted and listened to[6].

Some PR effect around Cancun

It is not pure haphazard if this announcement is made while in Cancun, the United Nations negotiations on climate change are taking place. In order to obtain always more funds to sell reactors to developing countries, the nuclear industry tries to persuade us that nuclear energy is the answer to climate change. Despite Areva’s PR attempt, nuclear power is not a solution to CO2 emissions, whereas energy efficiency and renewables are eleven times more effective when it comes to reduce greenhouse gases[7].

The network “Reseau Sortir du Nucléaire” condemns those deals made at the expense of peoples and the environment, and calls upon populations to keep on resisting these destructive nuclear projects.

Media contact:
- Steven Mitchell : +33 (0)952 495 022

[1] The Bhopal catastrophe occurred happened during the night of the 3rd of December 1984, and is considered the biggest industrial catastrophe up to this date.

[2] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/India_earthquake_zone_map_en.svg

[3] Les Sept Vents du Cotentin, "Un courant alternatif pour le Grand Ouest – Quelles alternatives au réacteur EPR ?", 2006.

[4] http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article857678.ece

[5] http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101129/full/468613a.html

[6] BVA poll « Les Français et l’environnement », 2007.

[7] Rocky Moutain Institute, "The Nuclear Illusion""The Nuclear Illusion" , 2008, p.19.