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#590 - July 11, 2003

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Full issue

25 Years ago

NIRS and WISE both celebrate their 25th anniversaries this year. This is the tenth article in a series, "25 years ago", comparing anti-nuclear news "then" and "now", to mark our first quarter-century of anti-nuclear campaigning.


In issue 2 of WISE Bulletin we wrote about protest against the pro-nuclear policy of the European Community: "Protest against the European Community's pro-nuke policy was organized in Bremen on July 4-5. On the eve of a "summit" meeting of heads of government of the EEC Nine, the Federal German anti-nuke movement held a round table on EEC, the plutonium society, and know-how exports to Brazil. A big demo was held the day the EEC meeting started". (WISE Bulletin, July 1978)


The European Economic Community has been reorganized during the last decades. The cooperation of countries is now being called the European Union (EU) and its "government" the European Commission (EC). But its pro-nuclear policy hasn't changed at all.

In 1957, when the EEC was established, the European Atomic Energy Agency Treaty (Euratom) was signed with its main goal the "speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries". Since 1957, nuclear energy had a privileged position compared to other energy sources, like alternatives. Many subsidies were given to the nuclear industry and several research centers/reactors established.

In 2002, the EC introduced the "nuclear package", which consists of directives (binding legislation) on nuclear safety standards, waste disposal deadlines, decommissioning funds and the import of nuclear fuel into the EU. The "nuclear package" has raised many protests from anti-nuclear organizations. They demand an urgent reform of the Euratom Treaty, which they call to be an outdated dinosaur.

Another reason for a reform (or cancellation) of the Euratom Treaty is to stop the extension of Euratom loan ceiling. Originally intended for new NPPs in Europe, loans are now being used for projects in Mid-/Eastern Europe. Money is being used for upgrading unsafe reactors (for instance Kozloduy in Bulgaria) or proposed new NPPs (K2/R4 in Ukraine). Money is running out and the EC has proposed a Euro 2 billion (US$ 2.3 billion) extension. (WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 574.5442, 4 October 2002)

At this moment, the EU is being expanded from 15 to 25 countries in 2004 and a new European Constitutional Convention is under development. A massive campaign, including hundreds of organizations, was started to call for the cancellation of the Euratom Treaty in the new convention. A half-dozen or so treaties now have to be revised and the Euratom Treaty might be hopefully one of these. (WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 578.5469, 6 December 2002)

In March 2003, the French pro-nuclear convention chairman Giscard D'Estaing called for the Euratom Treaty to be imported wholesale (with only minor technical amendments) into the new constitutional treaty. There is continuing pressure on delegates and countries not to accept the unchanged and outdated Euratom Treaty. Final decisions are expected in 2004. (WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 585.5501, 11 April 2003)


ISSN: 0889-3411