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The legacy of Chernobyl should be an end to nuclear power stations - Bairbre de Brún

26 April, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that society must "learn the lessons from the world's worst civil nuclear accident and turn away from the building of further nuclear power stations".

Ms de Brún made her comments on the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the fallout of which devastated the surrounding area and sent a radioactive cloud across Europe. The European Parliament began its session with a debate in Brussels today - "Twenty years after Chernobyl: Lessons for the future".

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Nuclear power can never be a viable option. The devastation caused twenty years ago and the after-effects which will be felt for many more generations should be enough to make us stop in our tracks and think again.

"We in Ireland who welcome thousands of affected children from Chernobyl for holidays here every year have a clear indication of the unacceptable risks connected to nuclear power.

"At present there are 173 nuclear reactors in Europe, excluding Russia, and a number of these remain unstable and unsafe. Concerns have been raised not only about the building of new nuclear power stations but also about the old nuclear reactors in a number of the new EU member states. The safety of existing reactors must be addressed as a matter of priority. Indeed, even on our own doorstep, the Sellafield plant in Cumbria remains the most discredited nuclear facility in Western Europe.

"Amidst all of this, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has hinted at building a new wave of nuclear power plants across Britain. This is not the way to meet obligations and targets on global warming.

"On this the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, I want to call for the scrapping of the EURATOM Treaty of 1957 and its replacement with a new agreement on the progressive realisation of a nuclear-free Europe." ENDS

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