DUBLIN (AFP) – Environment ministers from Austria, Iceland, Ireland and Norway said Monday that nuclear power was not the solution to global warming.
In a joint statement following a meeting in Dublin, the four ministers from the non-nuclear countries said the “inherent risks and problems associated with the nuclear energy option remain and it can not therefore claim to be a clean alternative to fossil fuel use.”
They said it was the sovereign right of each country to decide its own energy mix.
“However, for Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and Austria, we voice serious concern that nuclear energy is being presented as a solution to climate change.
“It is our collective view that the current debate seeks to downplay the environmental, waste, proliferation, nuclear liability and safety issues and seeks to portray nuclear energy as a clean, safe and problem free response to climate change.”
The statement said the trans-boundary nature of health and environment risks associated with nuclear energy dictated that governments in countries with nuclear power needed to ensure that other countries’ concerns were taken into consideration.
“The specific international liability regimes currently in place for the nuclear industry do not provide full scope compensation for potential damage or injury and provide a hidden subsidy to that industry,” the ministers said.
After 50 years of nuclear power, waste remains the most intractable issue, they added.
“The legacy of the nuclear industry for many generations to come continues to increase with little evidence of any real implementation of necessary long term solutions to the waste issue.
“Nuclear waste reprocessing, advocated as a solution to the management of nuclear waste, has long since lost its lustre and today the industry remains economically and environmentally untenable.”
They said that reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel represents a key source of pollution risks and remains a significant source of radioactive pollution and called on Britain not to re-open the THORP plant at its Sellafield site.
The ministers announced that a further meeting would take place in Vienna in late 2007.