Fifty thousand people joined hands in a 90-kilometre human chain through Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium on June 25 to demand the closure of two Belgian nuclear power stations ‒ Tihange 2 and Doel 3 ‒ which both have thousands of cracks in the reactor vessels.
The organisers of the action, WISE (Netherlands), AAA (Germany) and 11Maartbeweging and Fin du Nucleaire (Belgium) speak of a great success and "by far the largest anti-nuclear action in Europe since the meltdown disaster in Fukushima, Japan."
The chain reached from Aachen in Germany via Maastricht in the Netherlands to Tihange. Nuclear opponents from France and Luxembourg also joined, giving "a clear sign that not only the scandal-reactors in Tihange and Doel, but also the reactors in France, the Netherlands and in Germany must be shut down."
The German federal government as well as the newly-elected North-Rhine Westphalian Provincial government, and the Lower Saxony Provincial government – who all want the Belgian nuclear power stations to be closed ‒ must 'walk the talk' and stop the license for the production and export of nuclear fuel for the Belgian reactors.
Protests are to continue. Another supraregional and international demo is planned in Lingen, Germany on September 9 against fuel manufacture and exportation, the uranium enrichment in Gronau and ongoing operation of nuclear power stations in Lingen, Grohnde, Belgium, Netherlands, France and elsewhere.
For WISE, the biggest success of the human chain was the fact that we managed to get people in the southern region of the Netherlands – close to the Tihange reactor ‒ organised and empowered. Hundreds of people joined local groups who took up mobilisation but who are now also willing to continue their work. In total, more than 10,000 Dutch people took part in the human chain – double the amount we expected. WISE director Peer de Rijk said: "This is so encouraging. We will continue to work with the people and groups and build a new movement in the region."
Just two days before the human chain took place, protesters were invited by the management of the Tihange nuclear power stations for a meeting – to take place at the same time as the human chain action. We responded by inviting them to come to the action and have a public debate. Thousands of activists were ready to listen to their view on the issue of the cracks in the reactor vessels. Of course, they did not show up. We will have this meeting soon, with one condition ‒ it has to be a public meeting.
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