Greenpeace urges Spain to shut reactors after Japan quake

13th March 2011, Comments 5 comments

Greenpeace urged the Spanish government Sunday to stick to its promise to close Spain's six nuclear power plants in the wake of a feared meltdown of two reactors in quake-hit Japan.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed during general elections in 2004 and 2008 to gradually phase out nuclear power when the lifespan of the country's six nuclear plants expired.

But he has since softened his stance and in July 2009 the government said it would extend the operating licence for the country's oldest nuclear reactor, the Garona plant in northern Spain, for another two years until July 2013.

Carlos Bravo, the director of Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaign in Spain, urged the Spanish government to "learn the lessons" of the situation in Japan and fulfill its promise to close the nation's nuclear power plants.

"What has happened in Japan reminds us that nuclear energy is very dangerous, even when it is developed in a highly advanced country like Japan," he told public television TVE.

Bravo said the first plant which should be shut down is Garona, which he said has a similar design as Japan's Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant, which suffered an explosion on Saturday a day after the biggest quake ever recorded in the country unleashed a monster 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami.

The atomic emergency widened on Sunday as the cooling systems vital for preventing overheating failed at a second reactor, and the government warned there was a risk it too could be hit with a blast.

In an editorial published Sunday, centre-right Spanish newspaper El Mundo said "there was no doubt that the accident at Fukushima will reopen the old debate over nuclear security."

"It is very important as a result to dispose of all of the information regarding what happened in this case, which can not be minimised or ignored."

© 2011 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • Pamela Garmon posted:

    on 16th March 2011, 20:54:48 - Reply

    Sounds like a knee-jerk reaction from the politicians which will most certainly increase Spain's dependence on foreign oil, coal and gas should they manage to close the nuclear plant.
  • Richard Sweeting posted:

    on 16th March 2011, 13:04:47 - Reply

    I hardly think that a tsunami will hit the Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear plant as it is located well inland, at about 1800ft above sea level, in the province of Burgos. Also, the design base and construction of the plant does include the ability to withstand an earthquake. By all means carry out a review and check of the plant’s safety and protective features, which should be done on a periodic basis.

    Greenpeace and other similar antisocial organizations need to get used to the fact that as; coal, oil and gas supplies are depleted, we will become more and more dependent upon nuclear energy, especially as alternative sources are not sufficiently developed or robust enough to supply our needs. Apart from the problems that they also bring.
  • Herman Munster posted:

    on 14th March 2011, 13:05:43 - Reply

    Screw you, Green"peace".

    Now go back to your caves where you belong...