Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaigner, tel: +31 651 109 558
Sophia Majnoni d'Intignano, Greenpeace France Nuclear Campaigner, + 33 6 26 79 62 28
Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International Communications, tel: +44 (0) 7717 802 891
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This morning, Greenpeace activists in a number of European countries (1) called on the international bank BNP Paribas to "stop radioactive investments", including its plans to fund an obsolete, dangerous nuclear reactor in Brazil.
In Paris, Greenpeace activists used a BNP decorated armoured truck to deliver millions of fake ‘radioactive BNP-Paribas notes' to AREVA's, headquarters, the company that is building Angra 3, exposing the nuclear link between the two.
The banking group, which provides more finance to nuclear industry than any other bank in the world (2), is planning to provide crucial financing for the construction of the nuclear reactor Angra 3, just 150 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro, as part of a French banking consortium. The total amount that is reported to be negotiated is €1.1 billion.
"Angra 3 must be cancelled. It uses technology that pre-dates the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and that would not be permitted for use in the countries that are financing it. There has been no proper safety analysis and the legality of the project is in doubt. It will not benefit the people of Brazil," said Jan Beránek Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner.
"BNP's customers have the right to know that their bank is misusing their money. Brazil does not need more nuclear electricity, it has abundant wind, hydro and biomass resources for energy - all of which provide cheaper options without creating environmental and health hazards," he continued.
The construction of Angra 3 started in 1984 and stopped in 1986 following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when banks withdrew their funding. Most of the equipment that will be used to build the reactor pre-dates Chernobyl and has been left on the site for the last 25 years. It is now dangerously obsolete.
Angra 3 falls far behind current generation of reactor technologies, which themselves suffer safety problems, construction delays and skyrocketing costs. Any large-scale upgrades and adaptations required to integrate new safety requirements will lead not only to higher construction costs, but also increase the risk of unplanned outages during its operation. There are additional safety concerns, such as, in its planning, there was no risk-analysis carried out, in clear violation of international standards (3). And, it is accessible only via one road, which frequently is blocked due landslides. As is the realty for all nuclear reactors, there is still no permanent or safe solution for storing hazardous nuclear waste, which remains lethal for millennia.
"The financial players have been telling us for too long they are not responsible for the direction of energy, it is a political problem. In reality, it is they as well as manufacturers who allow these dangerous nuclear projects to see the light of day,"said Sophia Majnoni d'Intignano, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner.
"It is high time that the banks fulfil their responsibilities. Greenpeace calls on BNP Paribas to announce its immediate withdrawal from Angra 3 and allow full transparency on its radioactive investments."
Greenpeace launched this campaign on 16 October, when volunteers began putting posters up around BNP branches and stickers on its ATM machines asking the public: "Do you know what your bank does with your money?"
Notes to editors:
(1) Activities were also held in Luxembourg, Russia and Turkey
(2) BNP invested €13.5 billion in nuclear energy projects from 2000-2009. Profundo, independent investments consultancy research. Summary of the findings, as well as full report, available at www.nuclearbanks.org
(3) International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Requirements stipulate that the probabilistic safety assessment is performed and evaluated prior to construction. This has not been done for Angra 3 as is pointed out in both the official license from Brazil's nuclear regulator CNEN (Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear)as well as from ISTEC German report