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U-Plant closure blow to German industry

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(December 19, 1994) Siemens AG announced on 2 December that it would close its uranium processing plant in Hanau, FRG because anti-nuclear policies of the state government had made the plant uncompetitive.

(424.4197) WISE Amsterdam - The decision strengthens the hand of - opponents of nuclear power, especially as discussions on resumed. "This does not mean the end of nuclear power in Germany, but it is a success for the anti-nuclear movement [as it comes just] ahead of the resumption of the consensus talks," said a securities analyst who asked not to be identified in an interview with a Reuter's journalist.

Uranium conversion and fuel pellet production had already been suspend be formally closed until 30 September 1995. Siemens said it would transfer its uranium operations overseas, relying increasingly on its plant in Richland, Washington (US) and European suppliers for uranium.



A campaign to boycott Siemens, the only German manufacturer of nuclear facilities and plants, is now one year old. Its initiators are very satisfied with its progress over this first year. More than 120 German groups and organizations and 1000 individual persons actively support the campaign. Its purpose is to induce Siemens to close its nuclear branch. Only 2% of the volume of business from Siemens is produced by this branch, so the campaign aims to reduce the volume of business by 2% by not buying anything from the concern as long as Siemens is active in the nuclear field.

Many events and activities around the boycott have taken place throughout the year, and these are being stepped up now, during the pre-Christmas period. People can send postcards to Siemens saying that they support the boycott and will buy their things from other companies. Campaign organizers hope more of these postcards will be sent out next year and that the campaign will grow into a mass movement. For information and your own set of postcards, Contact: Koordinationskreis Siemens-Kampagne, Postfach 61 0285, D-10924 Berlin, FRG. Tel: +49-30-200 25 45, Fax: 30-229 1822.

The company said the decision does not affect another plant at Hanau, now nearly completed, for the reprocessing of plutonium into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel elements. But analysts said the decision underscores the uphill battle faced by nuclear projects m Germany, where Social Democratic (SPD) control of state governments has brought many nuclear projects to a halt.

The Bonn government hopes soon to restart the negotiations with opposition parties on national energy policy. Talks broke off in October 1993. Economics Minister Guenter Rexrodt, after talks on Monday with representatives of electric utilities, said they had agreed that nuclear power should remain a key part of the mix of energy sources Germany relies on. Nuclear power plants currently produce about 30 percent of Germany's electricity.

Source: Reuter, 9 Dec., via Global News Headlines (Greenbase, 11 Dec. 1994).

Contact: Koordinationskreis Siemens-Kampagne, Postfach 61 0285, D-10924 Berlin, FRG.
Tel: +49-30-200 25 45, Fax: 30-229 18 22.