Green representatives from The Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium want to give neighbouring countries influence in decision-making for nuclear power plants that are close to the border (up till 100 kilometres). GroenLinks (The Netherlands), Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Germany), Europe Écologie Les Verts (France), Groen and Ecolo (Belgium) believe that countries that are in close proximity of nuclear plants should get a say in the safety protocol of these plants. Because, though some say the chances of a nuclear disaster are slim, if it does go wrong the outcome has a catastrophic effect. And the radioactive cloud does not stop at the border.
GroenLinks representative Liesbeth van Tongeren: “Time and again we have read in the news about problems with nuclear reactors, like the ones in Doel and Tihange, Belgium. These plants are just across the border. If things go wrong, we have to deal with the consequences. GroenLinks obviously prefers closing all the nuclear power plants, but until then: give neighbours a say in the safety demands for the sake of the inhabitants of the border regions.”
Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, the spokeswoman on nuclear policy for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: “As long as Euratom is not replaced by an up to date treaty I request the EU Member States to work towards a reformation of the Euratom Treaty to stop the sponsoring of nuclear policy in the EU and implement a right to a say in the safety requirements for nuclear power plants that are close to the border. Our governments are responsible for the protection of their population against nuclear radiation.”
Groen-parliamentarian Johan Danen: “The law already forces countries to consult their neighbours (ESPOO Treaty), but we want to take it further. When calamities or other worrying events occur we want to give neighbouring countries a say in the safety assessment as well. When it comes to safety, we cannot make any concessions.”
National Secretary of Europe Écologie Les Verts, David Cormand: “Like the Germans and the Luxembourgers asking France to close the dilapidated nuclear power plant of Cattenom, the French Greens call on Belgium to close the nuclear power plants of Doel and Tihange. For the same reasons, and obviously because radioactive clouds don’t know any border. The nuclear phase-out in Belgium, already foreseen in the Belgian law, must not be delayed. The more our neighbours stop the use of nuclear energy, the more France will be forced to review its energy policy: please, show us the way!”
Muriel Gerkens, representative for Ecolo in the Belgian parliament: “Nuclear plants present a real danger for people from Belgium and neighbouring countries: Germany, Netherlands, France and Luxembourg. As ecologists, we want to shut them down. They are dangerous for humanity and the environment. Plus: they are totally unnecessary to meet our energy needs. We want a real energy transformation and a European cooperation to manage the energy supply. That’s why we aim for a European Energy Union.”
The nuclear reactors of Doel and Tihange, Belgium, have often been in the news the past few months. Ongoing problems and cracks in the reactor pressure vessels have raised concerns about the safety of the plants. Green parties have been advocating the closing of nuclear plants for years and continue to focus on energy conservation and clean energy. Until then the safety needs to have top priority.