Greenpeace protests French nuclear in Finland

5th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

HELSINKI, June 5, 2006 (AFP) - Greenpeace activists protested Monday in Helsinki against the construction of a third-generation EPR nuclear power station in Finland as French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin visited the site.

HELSINKI, June 5, 2006 (AFP) - Greenpeace activists protested Monday in Helsinki against the construction of a third-generation EPR nuclear power station in Finland as French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin visited the site.

Around a dozen activists from the environmental group set up a five-metre-high inflatable structure depicting a nuclear plant topped with a missile in front of the Finnish parliament, where Villepin was meeting with the president of the parliament Paavo Lipponen.

The protesters greeted Villepin and Lipponen as they left the building with signs saying "Stop EPR," "EPR, no thank you" and "French nuclear = disaster".

They were referring to the European Pressurised Reactor, a joint Franco-German project that is the first third-generation nuclear plant in the world.

France is planning to build its own EPR nuclear power station in Flamanville, in western France, and the design could also be adopted by Britain.

Greenpeace opposes the revival of nuclear energy at the expense of renewable energy sources, as well as the cost to French taxpayers if construction is delayed — it is currently nine months behind schedule — and the risk of terrorist attacks on the plant.

But advocates of the project say EPR is safer, more economical and more efficient than previous-generation reactors.

Villepin arrived late Sunday in Finland for a two-day working visit.

On Monday he also met with his Finnish counterpart, Matti Vanhanen, Finland's President Tarja Halonen, and the head of mobile phone group Nokia, Olli-Pekka Kallusvuo.

Villepin made no reference to the protests, praising instead the "originality" of France and Finland in their "desire for (energy) independence".

Energy is "a matter of concern for all the peoples of Europe", he said.

"We have a great deal to do in the area of energy to support our desire for independence and to ensure the security of our supply, not only between the countries of Europe but also with all other partners," he said at a news conference.

Finland is seeking to make energy a key issue when it takes over the EU rotating presidency on July 1st.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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