18 Oct (NucNet): Environmentalists and civil society groups will rally in Munich, Germany this Sunday to demand a halt to nuclear plant closures, which they say are increasing air pollution and locking-in fossil fuels.
Organisers from over a dozen grassroots environmental groups expect hundreds of pro-nuclear “atomic humanists” to come from across Europe to Sunday’s “Nuclear Pride Fest” in Munich’s Marienplatz from 10am to 4pm.
The environmentalists are demanding that world leaders maintain existing nuclear plants and build new ones. This will be essential to meet growing energy demand while addressing the “monumental task” of protecting health and the environment as well as mitigating climate change.
The urgency was highlighted in a recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
Scenarios in the report called for an up to six-fold increase in nuclear power.
Organisers of the rally point to evidence that every time nuclear plants are closed they are replaced mostly by fossil fuels because solar and wind are so unreliable.
They say the Nuclear Pride Fest will be the first time environmentalists have rallied in favour of nuclear. Their goal is both to urge the continued operation of nuclear plants and to confront what they say is an irrational stigma.
Germany is closing its fleet of commercial nuclear power units, but organisers of Sunday’s rally say this is leading to huge environmental damage, including the destruction of ancient forest to mine coal and by the pollution released when that coal is burned.
They say that despite having spent $580bn on renewables like solar and wind, German emissions have remained unchanged since 2009, thanks to its abandonment of nuclear power, which does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. They note that France, which has a fleet of 58 commercial nuclear plants, produces twice as much energy from clean sources as Germany and consumers pay half the price for their power.