Greenpeace calls on
Philippine government to abandon nukes on Chernobyl anniversary
April 26, 2011
MANILA – Greenpeace
today marked the 25th anniversary of the
nuclear disaster with a call to governments of Southeast Asia to
abandon all plans of developing nuclear power plants in the region to
ensure the safety of its citizens. Greenpeace is calling on
Philippine President Noynoy Aquino to invest heavily in energy
efficiency and harness clean, safe renewable energies to meet the
country’s energy requirements instead of dirty coal and dangerous
In Metro Manila,
Greenpeace activists in black cloaks and masks took the message to the
doorsteps of the Department of Energy, as they held a grim procession
highlighting 25 of the world’s worst nuclear disasters to challenge
Energy Secretary Jose Almendras to strike out all nuclear options in
Philippine energy plans.
“Chernobyl is to date
the world’s worst civilian nuclear accident, but the unfolding
disaster in Fukushima, Japan, demonstrates that no amount of
technological sophistication or safety culture can prepare any country
or its people for the inherent dangers of nuclear energy. Like in
Chernobyl, the Fukushima incident has shown that we cannot control or
manage nuclear energy and its fallout,” said Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace
Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner.
A quarter of a century
after Chernobyl, the situation in the area surrounding the
reactor shows few signs of improvement. Widespread contamination,
constant resettlements and long-term health impacts still pose threats
to communities. And, despite ‘modernizations’, the root causes of
nuclear technology’s vulnerability to accidents remain the same:
unexpected technological failures, operator errors, poor safety
standards due to political and economic pressures, lack of
transparency in the industry as a whole, and natural disasters.
Philippine Energy Plan for 2009-2030 still contains options for the
adoption of nuclear power in the country. Under the Energy Reform
Agenda of the current administration, part of the DOE’s thrusts for
2013-2016 is to strengthen policy researches and studies in aid of
executive and legislative action that will facilitate the operation of
a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in 2025.
resistance in 2008 derailed plans to revive the mothballed Bataan
Nuclear Power Plant. But the Philippines, as with rest of the ASEAN
countries, despite their vulnerability to natural disasters in the
Pacific “ring of fire” and their general lack of disaster
preparedness, have not yet ruled out nuclear power and the great costs
and risks it entails.
Costs to manage the
Chernobyl disaster which up to now continues to drain
and Europe millions of Euro annually, is estimated to cost more than
13 times the Philippine government’s budget for 2011. The disaster
also severely contaminated between 125,000 and 150,000 square
kilometres (equivalent to around half the
total land area) in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine. A
Greenpeace-commissioned study based on Belarus national cancer
statistics estimated that approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000
fatal cancer cases will be caused by Chernobyl.
that to secure a safe and better future, countries must choose
renewable energy over nuclear power. Greenpeace has long argued that
renewable energy has the potential to meet a substantial share of our
future energy demand. The Energy [R]evolution scenario details how –
combined with energy efficiency and a transformed electricity grid –
renewable energy could produce 95% of electricity worldwide by 2050.
Other studies have made predictions for different time frames or
regions. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, predicts that
North Africa could run on 100% renewable energy by 2050.