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World Uranium Symposium

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

The World Uranium Symposium took place in Quebec City, Canada, from April 14−16. Over 200 people participated, from 25 countries. The Symposium addressed a range of issues including uranium mining, radioactive waste, aboriginal rights and nuclear weapons proliferation.

Chief Richard Shecapio of the Cree Nation of Mistissini said:
"The Cree Nation has been devoted to this cause for many years now. We have fought tirelessly, and have been vocal in our opposition to uranium development on our territory. Events like the International Uranium Film Festival and the World Uranium Symposium serve to tell the stories of other people – both aboriginal and non-aboriginal – who have been affected by all phases of the nuclear cycle. It has never been more clear that the legacy of uranium development is unacceptable, and we must all do our part to put an end to it."

Peer de Rijk from WISE Amsterdam said:
"The Symposium brought together a good mix of experts and activists, and people from countries involved in all aspects of the nuclear fuel chain from uranium mining to nuclear power and waste management, as well as those affected by the nuclear weapons industry. Almost all participants were already critical of the nuclear industry so in hindsight it may have been more productive to spend more time strategising and less time on information sessions."


Dutch utility Delta wins court case Borssele-I and announces Borssele-II

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
LAKA Foundation

A court in Arnhem, the Netherlands, has ruled that Germany's RWE cannot acquire Essent's 50% stake in the Borssele nuclear power plant as part of its takeover of the Dutch utility.

Meanwhile, Delta, Borssele's co-owner, has mooted plans to build a second nuclear power station nearby.

In January, RWE and Essent announced an agreement on the terms and conditions for a binding, all cash offer for the German power company to buy all the issued and outstanding shares of Essent for 9.3 billion Euro (US$12.3 billion). Essent's power plant portfolio includes gas, renewables, coal and its 50%-ownership of the Borssele nuclear power plant. RWE's offer for Essent will see the formation of the fourth largest energy supplier in Europe and was to include Essent's half-ownership of the Netherlands' only operating nuclear power plant. However, Delta, owner of the other 50% of the Borssele plant, said in April that it was taking legal steps to prevent RWE taking over Essent's share of the plant. Delta said that the majority of its shareholders had demanded that EPZ - the joint venture between Delta and Essent for the Borssele plant - should remain in public ownership, in line with EPZ's articles of association and the shareholders' agreement. Delta shareholders claimed that Essent must offer its shares in EPZ to Delta, which would ensure that public interests are protected. Delta said that Essent had proposed that the legal ownership of its 50% stake in EPZ should be assigned to the current shareholders of Essent. The economic ownership would then be transferred to RWE. This, Delta claimed, would still give RWE control over the shares by a "back-door route."

In May, Delta announced that it was taking Essent, RWE and Essent's 136 public shareholders to court, claiming that they had acted unlawfully through the way in which the transaction structure of the deal had been specified. On July 10, a court in Arnhem (where Essents headquarter is located) has now ruled in Delta's favour, saying that Essent's shares in EPZ must remain in public hands, as EPZ's statutes stipulate. Essent has not given a reaction yet, saying it has to study the ruling first, but claiming that the deal with RWE is not off the table. The RWE-Essent deal sparkled a fierce public debate on selling public owned utilities, the other large Dutch utility, NUON, at the same time being sold to Vattenfall.

Meanwhile, on June 25 utility Delta announced it had started to apply to build a second nuclear power plant in the Netherlands, which it expects will be operational in 2018. During the presentation of the plans protesters from amongst others WISE and Greenpeace outside Delta’s headquarters in Middelburg (the capital of the Zeeland province) called for all nuclear power immediately to be phased out in the country.

Although public opinion and opinion of political parties is shifting, Dutch government has agreed that no new plants would be built during its mandate, which runs until 2011. It is expected that after the 2011 general elections right-wing pro-nuclear parties will have a majority in parliament, with the extreme right-wing –and extreme pro-nuclear- PVV (Wilders’ Party for Freedom) likely becoming one of the largest parties

Delta expects its request to be handled in the following cabinet period. It has to first submit a draft proposal to the Environment Ministry which will lead to an assessment report. A formal permit request will then follow in 2011, construction will then start in 2013 with first power in 2018, according to Delta.

Boerma said Delta, which is owned by Dutch provinces and local authorities, was looking for strategic partners to join the project for the new plant, which is expected to have a capacity of 2500 MW (in “one or two units”). But, Delta says, no technology has been chosen, although the choice seems to be between the EPR and AP1000. 2500MW is five times the existing 485 MW nuclear reactor, and is about 20% of all installed (electricity) capacity. Delta CEO Boerma added there was enough space around the Borssele site for even more nuclear plants to be an option in the future.

Delta estimates the costs for 2500 MW between 5 billion Euro (US$ 7 billion) Boerma said no decision had been taken on a partner yet, but added that keeping the plant in public hands would be important to ensure safety standards were met.

Sources: Reuters, 25 June 2009 / World Nuclear News, 10 July 2009 / Laka Foundation
Contact: Laka Foundation, Ketelhuisplein 43, 1054 RD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Tel: + 31-20-6178 294


WISE celebrates anniversary with clear call: No Nukes!

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Leading German Social Democrat no need for new nuclear power

A day after the IEA urged the Netherlands to quickly start building a new nuclear power station (as it does for many countries), Hermann Scheer visited the Netherlands to not only speech at the 30 year anniversary event of WISE but also visit Ministries, members of parliament, media and investors.

Scheer, member of parliament for the German SPD (Social-democrats)  is famous for what he has achieved in Germany to increase the percentage of renewable energy in the total mix, for getting the support of not only the public and politics but also the big industries and workers unions for the special schemes which encourages individual households (millions by now) to engage themselves in decentralize and sustainable electricity production (the so-called Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz (EEG) or feed-in system.
In an outspoken response to the IEA Scheer stated that “the International Energy Agency is misleading governments for decades already. The call for a new nuclear power station is bullshit and the data the IEA works with are legendary bad”.

His opinion is supported by the findings of a new report by the leading independent research authority Energy Watch Group, published in January of this year.
The report “Wind Power in Context – A Clean Revolution in the Energy Sector” identifies exponential growth in wind power capacity since the early 1990s. With net capacity additions of almost 20,000 Megawatts in 2007 the report suggests that, contrary to IEA forecasts, growth of wind power additions will continue and that it will be driven not just by costs for fossil fuels and nuclear cost overruns - but by access to new wind resources, by new grid regulations, by an emerging world market for wind turbines and components and by ever cheaper and better wind technology.

“It is time to recognise that the many detractors of wind energy, including the IEA, have got it wrong. Unbundling in the power sector and a timely planning of new grids will put many regions of the world on the fast track for a renewable driven energy sector.” 
“With the renewables market being driven forward by the entrance of major commercial players, and experiencing the benefits of consolidation of services around the strengths of different primary energy sources, we believe that the growth of the wind sector, accompanied by solar and other renewables will continue. This is not about morals or environment but the commercial reality that wind, coupled with hydro, solar, biomass and geothermal energy is not only a rapid and cost effective alternative but one that could deliver all our energy requirements within the first half of this century. In times of rising supply disruption risks and rising cost renewable energy technologies are the only source which provides electricity predictable, in terms of economics and in terms of supply.”

Wind power net capacity additions over the last ten years (1998-2007) have showed a mean growth rate of 30.4 percent per year, corresponding to a doubling of net additions every two and a half years. High worldwide growth rates for wind power will continue, and wind power will conquer a large part of the energy market in the next foreseeable future (10-15 years). Over the last 25 years, the productivity of wind turbines grew one  undred fold and average capacity per turbine grew by more than 1000 percent. 

According to the Dutch Minister of Environment, who also spoke wit Scheer, the German experience and legislation should be acknowledged and implemented in the Dutch situation as well. Scheer, who travels the world to tell about the German success-story, could only applaud these words. In his evening speech for a big crowd at the WISE-event he again stressed the importance of a vigorous and outspoken, self-confident and well-prepared anti-nuclear power movement. “Politicians lack courage. And that’s the only reason why we keep talking about new nuclear power stations. The transition to a real sustainable energy situation will not only bring us winners. Current players (coal, nuclear, oil) will loose. And they fight for their survival; that’s why they want us to first burn al their fossils before we go sustainable. That’s why we should fight them and that’s why we should for instance embrace the launch of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

This new body was launched on January 26, 2009, and is intended to provide a counterbalance to the International Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency, by becoming a driving force behind renewable technologies such as sun, wind, water and geothermal energy sources.

For more information on the feed-in system see:

Sources: “Wind Power in Context – A Clean Revolution in the Energy Sector” at / / Financieel Dagblad (NL), 6 February 2009



Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(May 27, 2005) On May 18, activists from Greenpeace occupied the site of Borssele, the sole remaining nuclear power reactor in The Netherlands as a result of the renewed debate on its future, which re-started when members of the government again put the official closure date into question.

(628.5690) WISE Amsterdam - On February 16, when most NGOs involved in energy issues were celebrating the entering into force of the Kyoto protocol, the Dutch Secretary of State for the Environment (The Netherlands no longer has a Minister for Environmental Affairs) announced that the government is seeking ways to keep the Borssele nuclear power plant open for 20 more years. The coalition government (three parties of right-wing Conservatives), in 2002, agreed upon the closure of the last Dutch commercial nuclear power station in 2013, at the end of its natural lifetime (40 years).

However, the government has so far failed to come up with a comprehensive and/or inspiring plan for more renewables, energy efficiency or even new investments in cleaner power stations or wind farms. The Dutch will probably only be able to meet the Kyoto targets because half of the savings on CO2-emission are to be met with projects in other countries via the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

And as the Dutch energy market has gradually been liberalized and left to the market, the owners of the Borssele nuclear reactor can successfully claim that it is not up to the government to decide when the reactor should close. The Dutch system allows a plant that fulfills safety requirements to be awarded an open-ended license; Borssele has one. The utility, EPZ, has stated that it should receive between 700 and 1200 million Euros in compensation from the government if 'forced' to close in 2013. This claim has led the Dutch NGO world and communities at large to re-start their opposition for the first time in maybe 15 years. Groups are increasing efforts to put pressure on parliament and the government to stick to the original closure date of 2013.

The State Secretary for the Environment hired two consultants to initiate talks with the main stakeholders, behind closed doors, to identify possibilities for making a dirty deal; if the environmental movement would accept the postponement of closure to 2033 then the 'saved' money (from not compensating the utility) would then be spent on renewable energy projects and investments.

Divide and rule
In the first round of this tense and highly political game all the environmental NGOs refused to participate, not wanting to "…bargain on nuclear energy". The offer of such a deal has served to galvanize the Dutch anti-nuclear movement and in response to the political war games, a coalition of eight environmental groups responded with an action. Greenpeace Netherlands and WISE have been increasing the number of its actions against nuclear energy and earlier this year, 200 drums with 'radioactive waste' were placed in front of parliamentary buildings. On May 18, Greenpeace managed to occupy the Borssele site and some activists even climbed onto the reactor dome. This was a major embarrassment for both the government and the utility as just a few months ago, the entire nation was shaken by the news that a would-be Muslim terrorist had been arrested with detailed maps of the nuclear power station. Greenpeace easily walked onto the site with 40 people and 12 of them occupied the dome for a day, painting a huge crack to symbolize the expected problems of ageing reactors.

Other players (opinion makers, civil servants, environmental and energy consultants, etc) in the debate are much more open to the idea of a deal (postponed closure in exchange for money for renewables). The consultants are now attempting to play the divide-and-rule game by trying to expose supporters of a deal.

Although not written in stone yet, it seems that the government wants to keep Borssele open until at least 2033. This has far reaching consequences for the discussion on radwaste and reprocessing. In a new report ("Ontwikkelingen met betrekking tot eindverwerking van gebruikte brandstof", NRG, April 2005), the government published new details on the status of Dutch plutonium stocks; in the last 15 years, despite almost annual parliamentary debate on reprocessing, no details were ever published on the exact status of Dutch reprocessing contracts. The government has decided that there are still no relevant developments to stop reprocessing (despite, for instance, the 'new' terrorism threat).

The State Secretary and his staff have, of course in confidentiality, been allowed to view the reprocessing contracts with Cogema for the first time ever. After some discussions both Cogema and Borssele agreed to reveal the following information on Dutch plutonium:


  • EPZ claims that ownership of Dutch plutonium (Pu) stocks is transferred, or will be transferred, to others for recycling as MOX fuel. Borssele itself does not and will not use MOX. This counts for both the already produced (separated) Pu as well as the Pu still to be produced

  • Of the 2,5 tons Pu already produced, 23% was sold to the Kalkar and Superphenix fast breeder projects, 31% was sold for recycling in MOX, 31% is still in storage with the aim to be used in MOX later, as is the remaining 15%. The total amount of separated plutonium owned by The Netherlands is 2.3 tons (Dec. 31, 2004): 0.4 tons from Dodewaard and 1.9 tons from the Borssele reactor.

  • Of the 280 tons of reprocessed uranium produced till now, 126 tons has already been re-enriched and used for re-loading into Borssele and 139 tons has been transferred to others. EPZ "expects to find a solution" for the remaining 15 tons.


    In February when the future of Borssele was debated, a Dutch businessman announced his intention to build a small (25 Mw) Pebble Bed nuclear reactor in the Netherlands, to be used as a stand-alone energy source for high-energy consuming industry in the Rotterdam harbor area. As he put it, "the question whether I will go to the Ministry and start the process for a license depends largely on how much resistance I meet in society".

    The large utilities active in the Dutch energy market are also reviewing their positions on nuclear power. Although none are expected to announce plans to build a large reactor, it is clear that there is a rapid change in thinking occurring, not only within the general public (polls show support for nuclear growing steadily) but, and more importantly in the short term, also within the circles of decision makers.

    Source and contact: WISE Amsterdam.

BorsseleGKN DodewaardWISE

Fight against Borssele not over

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 13, 2003) The new three-party coalition government of The Netherlands (Christian-Democrats, Liberals and Democratic-Liberals), installed in the last week of May, has decided to keep the last Dutch NPP, Borssele, open until at least 2013. Officially, the text of the government agreement reads: "The nuclear power plant Borssele will be closed when its technical design lifetime has ended (at the end of 2013)".


(588.5521) WISE Amsterdam - For environmentalists it had been exciting months after the 22 January parliament elections. A coalition of Social-Democrat PvdA and Christian-Democrats CDA appeared to be evident, seen the outcome of the elections (both won and could gain a clear majority coalition). The Social-Democrats had a very out-spoken promise on the table to get Borssele closed as soon as possible.

However, coalition talks failed when the Christian-Democrats withdraw after several weeks of talks. Within a few weeks a coalition was formed between CDA, Liberals (VVD) and Democratic -Liberals (D'66). D'66 was also in favor of closing Borssele but gave up this position in the talks.

Although not surprising (but nevertheless wrong) The Netherlands are still being considered one of those countries who decided to step out of nuclear energy. Already in 1994, the government decided that Borssele was to be closed at the latest before 1 January 2004. It followed a parliament decision which voted in majority for this closure date.

The implementation of the parliament vote was also a coalition agreement (the Netherlands have at least 12 parties in parliament and almost always a government based on a coalition with three parties) and the Liberals in the government made very clear they did actually not support the decision.

As one of the Liberal ministers was responsible for implementation of the decision (initiating - on time! -, amendments to law etc.) the government failed to do so correctly.

The utility successfully went to court and won the case; in a much more liberalized energy-market is was not up to the government to take a decision in the way it had been done (it could have been done otherwise) to close the reactor.

After the disastrous outcome of the elections in May 2002 (short after the assassination of the very popular right-winged politician Fortuyn by a radical environmental activist), a massive majority for the conservative parties was established, including Christian-Democrats, Liberals and the Fortuyn Party.

These three formed a government coalition. There was little hope that the NPP would ever be closed. But the government managed to blow itself up after less than 3 months.

WISE has been continuously pressing for closure of Borssele. Besides political (lobby)work. WISE also campaigns against the owner of the plant, Essent, the largest electricity utility in the country. They want to keep Borssele open as long as possible. Essent is also the largest importer of nuclear electricity from other countries (France, Germany and Belgium).

Since 18 months the domestic market for so-called green electricity is free for private consumers; everyone can switch to another retailer. The aim of the WISE campaign was to make Essent known as the nuclear retailer.

In this way WISE put pressure on Essent as quite some people - at least those who decided to buy green electricity - do not want to support a utility which owns a nuclear reactor.

The campaign itself has been quite successful, although there was little support from other - much bigger - environmental organizations. Most of them do not consider nuclear energy as an important issue anymore and quite some of them work closely together with Essent (like the Dutch branch of WWF) as Essent successfully markets itself as the retailer which does the most to promote green electricity.

On 27 May, WISE was invited by the CEO of Essent to have a round-table conversation. The opportunity was also used to hand over the more than 10.000 signatures of people asking Essent to stop selling nuclear energy.

The meeting appeared to be a waste of time. The Board of Essent in no way feels itself responsible for issues as whether nuclear energy is dangerous for the environment and mankind. As Borssele has been economically written-off this year it is a good money-maker for Essent.

Essent says it is up to the politicians to decide on the future of nuclear energy, but they also made clear their believe that nuclear would still have a bright future ahead.

As of 1 January 2004, the whole electricity-market in The Netherlands will be opened (green. coal, nuclear, etc.). Everyone can switch from one retailer to the other. This will open new opportunities for campaigning efforts by WISE.

To be continued,

Source and Contact: WISE Amsterdam


Dutch court hears evidence that Borssele must close

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(February 1, 2002) Did the Dutch government, back in 1994/95, reach agreement with the electricity producers and the owner of the last Dutch nuclear power station Borssele? Mr. Wijers, Minister of Economic Affairs from 1994 to 1998, and high-ranking civil servants were recently in court to answer this question (see WISE News Communique 555, "In Brief").

(562.5368) WISE Amsterdam - On January 25 three of a total of 6 persons to be heard gathered in court. The Ministry of Economic Affairs chose all the witnesses as it is up to the government to prove that the agreement was reached. The witnesses still to be heard include the director of the SEP, the Dutch association of electricity producers.

In the week before, WISE Amsterdam successfully obtained most of the written communication between the SEP and government using the Dutch version of the Freedom of Information Act; all papers are published on the WISE Amsterdam web site (but are all in Dutch!)

After months of confusion (mainly caused by the fact that the current Minister of Economic Affairs, Mrs. Jorritsma, is not at all in favor of closing the plant) the papers and the hearings did, according to observers and media reports, prove that the political decision to close the plant at the latest on December 31, 2003, was indeed fixed with a bilateral agreement between the minister and the SEP.

Former Minister Wijers was clearer than he ever was during his period as Minister; he reached agreement, he showed the minutes and he was almost angry that the owner of the plant, formerly part of the SEP, dared to question the agreement. Two high-ranking civil servants who accompanied the Minister in his talks in 1994 with the SEP confirmed the view of the former minister.

Although the case seems clear-cut, the problem is that no court decision is expected before fall. First more witnesses from both the Ministry and the SEP will be heard, then the owner of the plant can call witnesses, then the judge will decide after which both parties have the full right to appeal.

In the meantime the political situation will have changed after elections in May. Most likely the Netherlands will end up with a large conservative majority in Parliament and the two biggest conservative parties (Christian-Democrats and conservative liberals) have already let know that if they are in the government coalition, they will let the plant run till at least 2013.

As Dutch electricity consumers will soon have a free choice of electricity supplier NGO's are preparing for actions against the new owners of the Borssele nuclear power station (Essent and Delta utilities). WISE Amsterdam itself will soon start campaigning against Essent; if they choose to support the production of nuclear-generated electricity we will start consumer actions.

Source and contact: WISE Amsterdam


WISE Amsterdam and NIRS announce affiliation

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 15, 2000) On 12 September, WISE-Amsterdam and the US based Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) agreed that the two groups will formally affiliate. The affiliation is the result of a year's worth of discussion and negotiation and was approved unanimously by both the boards of WISE-Amsterdam and NIRS.

WISE-Amsterdam, with a dozen relay offices across the globe, and NIRS, with some 6,000 grassroots members, were both founded in 1978 and have followed parallel tracks over the years, often working closely together on selected issues and events.

The affiliation means that WISE-Amsterdam's and NIRS's activities will be coordinated internationally, which we believe will result in a stronger, more cohesive and effective message.

Over the past years, there has been a wave of mergers and consolidations in the nuclear power industry. The nuclear industry, in many ways a symbol of globalization gone amok, no longer answers to any nation or regulator. The future of the nuclear industry is increasingly being determined at the international level, through treaties, agreements and behind-the-scenes pacts.

The affiliation of WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS means that we will be able to effectively challenge the power of the nuclear industry and be more effective on the international level. By being able to concentrate our resources as needed, we will be more helpful to national groups as well. We think that the affiliation will exceed the sum of the parts.

WISE-Amsterdam currently has a dozen relay offices. WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS has made full funding for these offices a major priority. WISE-Paris, which operates separately from the other WISE offices, does consulting, research and other work on energy and plutonium, and will not be part of the affiliation, although it is highly regarded by us.

The first joint project we are working on is the opposition to the proposed inclusion of nuclear energy as a "Clean Development Mechanism" (CDM) in current international negotiations on the Kyoto climate change Protocol. This climate campaign will reach a head in November in The Hague, Netherlands, where WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS will organize activities. WISE-Amsterdam/NIRS will work on the gamut of nuclear-related issues currently plaguing the globe: from the use of MOX fuel to radioactive "recycling" of low-level waste to nuclear transport issues.

We will use a variety of tactics, ranging from research, legal actions, public education, campaigns, to non-violent civil disobedience, to attain our goals.

P.O. Box 59636
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Tel: +31-20-6126368
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