Activists on roof Barsebäck; closure this summer?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(April 9, 1999) On March 25, Greenpeace activists from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Slovakia climbed on the roofs of the Barsebäck reactor buildings and the Filtra building. They hung a huge banner on which was written the words "Lukketid"-"closing time".

(508.4999) WISE Amsterdam - With reference to a recently released Probabilistic Safety Analysis (PSA), Greenpeace Denmark's Barsebäck campaigner Tarjei Haaland declared that "the action is intented to remind all parties involved that consideration must be given to the safety of the population of neighboring country which has said no to nuclear energy. According to the PSA report, the Swedish nuclear power plant authority SKI determined on February 24, 1999, that the probability for damages in the reactor core due to failure in the cooling system is "relatively high". "Allowing Barsebäck to continue operations until summer before fundamental safety improvements are made is highly irresponsible," said Halland. The close vicinity of Barsebäck to Copenhagen (Denmark) has prompted the Swedish government to decide that Barsebäck should be closed first.

Sweden has decided to phase out its 12 nuclear power plants in line with a 1980 referendum. The Swedish government decided in February 1998 that reactor unit 1 at the Barsebäck nuclear plant was to shut down before July 1, 1998, and the second reactor--unit 2--must close in 2001. However, Sydkraft, the owners of Barsebäck, filed a complaint to the Swedish Aministrative Court. Unit 1 was allowed to continue operating until the court ruling. The ruling was expected before Christmas 1998, but on December 22 the Court announced that it might ask the European Court of Justice for advice on the matter. This means another two years delay.

The intention of the activists was to stay as long as necessary until the message was clearly understood. Also, 11 activists have chained themselves to the front gate. The police immediately sealed the area. The planned downscaling of the action has been a success, with hours of intervals individual activists climbed down. During the night six activists were still on the roof, and after 30 hours all the 18 activists and two non- Greenpeace cameramen were arrested. They were detained for three to four hours in a police bus outside the plant and in the police station in the nearby town of Lund. They were all charged with severe unlawful trespassing, which could mean two years imprisonment.

According to Nucleonics Week, the "shutdown of Barsebäck-1 is assumed as of July 1" and in 2000 the second unit is also to close. Meanwhile, the managing director of Barsebäck says in an interview with Reuters that the reactor is not profitable at current electricity prices. But at the same time, he claims in an editorial in the industry magazine Nuclear Europe Worldscan that the operation of Barsebaeck is still "succesful despite a political decision to close it".


  • Nucleonics Week, 11 March 1999
  • Nuclear Europe Worldscan, March/April 1999
  • Greenpeace Press release 25 March 1999
  • Reuter, 31 March 1999

Contact: Tarjei Haaland at Greenpeace
Bredgadwe 20
Baghuse 4
1620 Copenhagen
Tel: +45-40553203