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Prague international anti-nuclear office opens

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(December 13, 1996) On how playing PIANO can prevent another Chernobyl from happening and why you should be involved.

(463.4598) PIANO -Dear Friends! We are the PIANO crew, 5 women in the Prague International Anti Nuclear Office (PIANO), an international support office based in Prague working to stop the construction of the Temelin (Czech Rep.) and Mochovce (Slovak Rep.) Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). We are hoping you will want to get involved (even if it is just to put the attached letter through your fax).

We will create the anti-nuclear revolution!

Maybe this sounds a little wild, but it is possible and we are on our way there. Nuclear power is already not acceptable to most of the people in the west, and the governments have had to listen (except in France) by stopping the construction of all new nuclear power plants. The western nuclear industry has lost its market and is looking to the east to save itself. Moving the industry to the east is not acceptable to us or to the people in central and eastern Europe. There are existing resistance movements there and the main focus of the PIANO project is to support their campaigns.

Temelin NPP is a prime example of the western nuclear industry's exploits in the east. Situated 150 km from Prague, it is an unfinished VVER 1000/320, built and abandoned by the Soviets. Now CEZ (Czech electricity utility) and WESTINGHOUSE are completing this unneeded NPP with guarantees being funded by the ExIm Bank.

The Czech environmental organization Hnuti Duha (Friends of the Earth) has been running a campaign to stop the construction of the Temelin NPP for 4 years. Using a wide range of methods from lobbying and direct actions to creating energy efficiency brigades and promoting renewable energy, they have come to the point in their campaign where international support is crucial. This is where PIANO and you come in.

The Slovak environmental organisation Za Matku Zem (For Mother Earth Slovakia) is running a campaign to stop a similar project: the Mochovce NPP, 120 km from the capital, Bratislava. This VVER 440/213 plant will most likely never be brought up to western safety standards, is placed in an area with a high earthquake risk and will, after running an energy efficiency program, be totally unneeded.

After successfully lobbying to get the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to reject the project, the German multinational, Siemens, and the French company, Framatome, are now the main foreign partners to finish the job. It is hypocritical that the German government stopped the construction of Greifswald, a similar NPP because of the high costs and low safety, but financially supports the construction of Mochovce. Raising the awareness on this issue inside and outside Germany, and inspiring people to act against this - that's PIANO's job.

some of our cool plans . . . and how you could be involved!

  • Fax attack against ExIm. (see the attached letter and send it to the number provided)
  • Information tour. PIANO players will be traveling through Europe and the States, to inform and inspire people to act against the nuclear industry. From direct activism to questioning your politicians; we need your help to stop Westinghouse and ExIm.
  • We are also going to be setting up a satellite office in the US.
  • International action camp, July 1997. This will be the climax to the year's campaigning - a full month of blockades and actions at Mochovce and Temelin NPPs. We hope that there will be actions in the US to coincide with the blockades (fancy a die-in at the ExIm, or Westinghouse anyone?).
  • PIANO will be doing lots of things in Europe such as: helping to organize the "Parade for a nuclear-free world" through Europe with walkers, skaters, bikers, activists, actors and artists outreaching to the thousands of people that we will meet and doing direct actions along the way to Temelin and other NPPs, political theater, benefit concerts and actions in Prague, and more!

Get in touch with us, and let us know how you want to be involved.

For a nuclear free world, the PIANO players, Katka, Stevie, Krist@, Sarah, Emily

Source and Contact: PIANO, Chvalova 3, Praha 3, 13000 Czech Republic
tel: +42-2-9000 6109 /9003 1895

Martin A. Kamarck
President and Chair US Export Import Bank
Washington DC
United States
1-202-565-EXIM phone
1-800-565-EXIM toll free in the US
1-202-565-3380 fax

Dear President Kamarck:
We wish to inform you of our strong opposition to the US ExIm Banks funding guarantees for the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant in the Czech Republic. This project was the source of much attention in 1994, including over 50 US Senators and Representatives requesting ExIm condition or cancel the project.

Since this time numerous events have occured which we believe should cause ExIm to withdrawal from this project:

  • Temelin is now years delayed and hundreds of millions of dollars over the budget ExIm was given by the Czechs.
  • Bidding scandles have revealed Westinghouse won the Temelin contract under illegal circumstances.
  • Dirty coal fired plants are being reopened because Temelin is so late and further delays will result in greater environmental damage. While other energy solutions (especially gas and and co-generation retrofits) would result in quick pollution abatement.
  • Contrary to their promises to ExIm, CEZ continues not to release any significant documentation on Temelin safety or environmental impact.
  • The Czech nuclear regulator agency (SUJB) has not been restructured as promised to ExIm and becomes progressively more secretive and less independent. Numerous conflicts of interest exist between the monopoly utility and the governemnt.
  • Serious doubts remain about the safety of this hybrid east-west designed plant, especially since the original Russian design methodology is unavailable to the Westinghouse engineers.
  • There remains a serious threat that countries like Austria, which are not signators to the Vienna nuclear liability convention, will sue the US government in the event of an accident, risking untold taxpayers money.

For all of these reasons we strongly urge you to withdrawal from the Temelin project and we plan to bring this up before the new session of congress if ExIm is unwilling to act on these concerns.

Respectfully yours