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Chances for German anti-nuclear foreign policy

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

The new German government should reverse the former pro-nuclear German policy and use its influence in the European Union to change the pro-nuclear EU policy.

Although no nuclear plants has started operation in Germany for 10 years, Germany has been a driving force for the expansion of nuclear power, especially in Central and Eastern European countries and Turkey.
The German government has until now promoted nuclear power in several ways:

  • as Hermes credit guarantees for nuclear projects,
  • as credits by the Credit Bank for Reconstruction,
  • via European Union institutes such as Euratom and EU-assistance programs, on which Germany has a strong influence because it is politically and economically strong, and
  • via the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Greenpeace International has urged the new red-green government to consider these points:

  1. Germany must no longer allow Hermes credit guarantees for foreign nuclear projects in Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia or Turkey. In the past, Siemens and other German nuclear firms received big-scale export credits to finance nuclear projects in many countries: Brazil, Iran, Slovakia, Argentina and Lithuania.
  2. Nuclear safety must be a main criteria for the entry into the EU of new states. As long as high-risk reactors in Lithuania (Ignalina), Slovakia (Mochovce), Bulgaria (Kozloduy) are not closed, those countries should not be allowed to enter the EU. Germany should do its best to stop the financing or upgrading of nuclear reactors or of other nuclear projects in these countries by EU money, be it by PHARE or TACIS assistance programs, by EU pre-accession funds or structural assistance programs.
  3. The new finance minister must do his best to stop the EBRD from financing the completion or construction of nuclear reactors, especially the completion of the Ukrainian Khmelnitsky 2 and Rovno 4 reactors.
  4. Germany should take the initiave inside the EU to reform Euratom in such a way that each Euratom financing has to be agreed on by the EU parliament in the first place. As a second step, Euratom must be abolished or its function changed into a nuclear decommissioning fund.
  5. The new government should investigate the legitimacy of granting Hermes credits to Siemens for work on Mochovce in Slovakia. The former government connected clear conditions to the granting of credits, for example the closure of the high-risk Bohunice reactors, which Slovakia did not observe.
  6. The German EU chairmanship in the first half-year of 1999 must be used to initiate a European nuclear phaseout.

Tobias Münchmayer, Greenpeace International, October 1998