This week sees the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It will shortly be followed next month by the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. As the two worst disasters of the nuclear age, events are being held here in the UK and around the world to commemorate these anniversaries and seek solutions to go ‘beyond nuclear’. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) is involved in jointly organising important events in mid March to commemorate both disasters.
This comes at a time when the final investment decision on building a new nuclear power station for Hinkley Point C is still being considered. Today, the Financial Director of EDF, Thomas Piquemal, dramatically resigned around his concerns that going ahead with the Hinkley project could jeopardise the entire company. NFLA believes Mr Piquemal’s resignation is honourable, and EDF and the UK and French Governments would be foolish to ignore his deep concerns.
A factor in why Hinkley Point would be such an expensive construction project relates to the extra safety features required as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. NFLA have joined up with the Low Level Radiation and Health Conference, the Chernobyl Children’s Project, CND, SERA, Japanese citizens Against Nuclear (JAN) and Kick Nuclear to organise four international events in London and Manchester under the banner ‘Beyond Nuclear’. The events include a Parliamentary seminar in Westminster on March 17th, (1) a special NFLA seminar on March 18th, (2) the main ‘Beyond Nuclear’ conference on March 19th (3) and a special Campaigners day on March 20th (the latter three events all in Manchester). (4)
The events will consider the various direct and indirect impacts of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters on health, nuclear and energy policy. They will also advocate realistic alternative energy scenarios based on decentralised renewable energy, community energy and energy storage solutions.
Amongst the specialist expert speakers at the NFLA event and Beyond Nuclear Conference are:
- Professor Tim Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, and an expert in the impacts of both disasters on wildlife.
- Dr Keith Baverstock of the University of Eastern Finland, and the leader of the Radiation Protection Programme at the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003.
- Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, former head of the independent government committee CERRIE considering the risk of internal radiation emitters.
- Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham of Imperial College, and author of ‘The Burning Answer’ on the renewable energy revolution.
- Linda Pentz Gunter, international nuclear specialist with the American NGO ‘Beyond Nuclear’.
- Dr Angelika Claussen, board member of IPPNW Germany.
- Reinhard Uhrig, Campaign Director with Global 2000 / Friends of the Earth Austria.
- Peer de Rijk, Executive Director at the World Information Service on Energy (WISE), based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
- Dr David Reinberger of Vienna Environmental Advocacy, and advisor to the Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe Network.
The NFLA is delighted that such a quality array of international speakers are coming to the UK to speak on the impacts of Chernobyl and Fukushima, to argue that nuclear power is not the answer to our future energy needs and that renewable energy solutions are both practical, workable and achievable.
NFLA Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
I welcome the honourable decision of EDF Finance Director Thomas Piquemal to resign over his deep concerns of the inadequate finance model for developing new nuclear power reactors at Hinkley Point. He joins with the French nuclear trade unions and the EDF Shareholders Association in having deep concerns about this flawed project. I welcome the fact that NFLA is commemorating the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters by explaining why nuclear power contains so many dangerous risks and highlighting a sensible nuclear free, fossil free energy alternative solution. I urge people to register for this important conference and hear from leading experts in these fields.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 07771 930196, who can provide links to organisers of all four distinct events.
Notes for editors:
(1) Parliamentary seminar, Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, Westminster, 7pm – 9pm:
Why we don’t want Hinkley Point C in the light of Chernobyl & Fukushima – Molly Scott-Cato MEP, South West England
– The current situation at Fukushima and for the evacuees -Ms Yahoi Hitomi, journalist and member of the Chikyumura / Village Earth Fukushima NGO
– How Fukushima changed Japan’s nuclear policy – an analysis in an international context – Dr Dominic Kelly, Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University
– Biological effects of nuclear radiation from Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters – Dr Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
– Health Dangers of Routine Emissions from Nuclear Reactors – Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment
– Nuclear Insecurity – Dr David Lowry, independent nuclear policy consultant.
(2) NFLA ‘Beyond Nuclear’ special seminar, Manchester Town Hall, 18th March, 1pm – 3.30pm:
– Chernobyl & Fukushima: similarities and differences – Dr Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
– The long-term impact of Chernobyl on Europe – Angelika Claussen, IPPNW, Germany
– The continuing nuclear disaster in Fukushima – Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment
– The humanitarian impact of the Fukushima disaster in Japan – Yayoi Hitomi, Chikyumura / Village Earth Fukushima NGO
– The moves towards non-nuclear solutions around Europe – Reinhard Uhrig, Global 2000, Austria.
(3) ‘Beyond Nuclear’ main conference, Manchester Mechanics Institute, 19th March, 9.30am – 4pm:
Introductory session – The international debate on new nuclear:
– Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear, USA – how do we go ‘beyond nuclear’ around the world?
– Peer de Rijk, Director, WISE International – the European new nuclear debate: challenges and opportunities
– David Reinberger, Vienna Ombuds-Office and Cities for a Nuclear Free Europe Network – the Austrian legal challenge on Hinkley Point.
Session 1 – The impact of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters on health and the environment:
– Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment – Chernobyl and Fukushima, a comparative study
– Dr Keith Baverstock, Department of Environment Science, University of Eastern Finland and former Head of WHO Radiation Protection Programme for Europe – What underpins the health effects of radiation at low doses?
– Dr Tim Mousseau, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina – Do Nuclear Accidents Generate a “Garden of Eden” for Wildlife? Lessons from the Chernobyl and Fukushima Disasters.
Session 2 – Can renewables step up to the mark in the UK? What can be learnt from the Austrian and German ‘Energiewende’ experience?
– Prof Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor, Imperial College – how do we develop a low carbon, non nuclear energy revolution?
– Reinhard Uhrig, Global 2000 – the Austrian energy debate and why has it embraced renewables?
– Angelika Claussen, IPPNW Germany – Is Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ delivering a renewable revolution?
(4) Campaigners Day, Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Manchester, M4 7HR, 20th March, 9.30am – 4pm:
Includes plenary session – the campaigns in Austria, Germany, France and the USA –
– Reinhard Uhrig, Head of Campaigns, Global 2000, Austria
– Angelika Claussen, Nuclear Phase-out spokesperson, IPPNW Germany
– Andre Lariviere, Member of ‘Sortir du Nucleaire’, France
– Linda Pentz Gunter, International Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, USA
Also includes workshops and plenary sessions for campaigning groups to develop a cohesive strategy.
The NFLA and other members of the Steering Group would like to thank the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, WISE International, Lush Charitable Trust and participating groups for providing funds for the logistics and organisation of these events.