(January 17, 2003) NIRS and WISE both celebrate their 25th anniversaries this year. This is the first article in a new series, "25 Years Ago", comparing anti-nuclear news "then" and "now", to mark our first quarter-century of anti-nuclear campaigning.
In issue 1 of WISE Bulletin we wrote about the resistance against the French breeder reactor Superphénix: "The local opponents of the Super-Phénix 1200 MW fast breeder at Creys-Malville (France) have begun work on an eco-house, self-sufficient in energy, on land given by a family just near the site. This is one of the signs of how the Malville opposition is pulling itself together after the impact of last summer's mass demo. On July 31 1977, 60,000 peaceful marchers from all over Europe converged on the site in heavy rain. They were met with police violence: one dead, 2 seriously mutilated (one French, one German), and a hundred wounded". (WISE Bulletin 1, May 1978).
Resistance against the Superphénix continued at different levels and with success. In 1998 it was decided that Superphénix would be shutdown and dismantled. The net electricity production of Superphénix on completion of dismantling could well be negative - i.e. consuming more electricity than it ever produced. After its opening in 1986, it was plagued by many accidents and only operated for an equivalent of 278 days full power. (WISE News Communique 499-500, 16 October 1998)
On 2 August 1997, people commemorated the dead of teacher Vital Michalon in a "Flowers of life" camp at the site. Flowers were brought to the place where Vital died and others were injured in the July 1977 violence. (WISE News Communique 476, 25 July 1997) Although Superphénix remains closed, the French government wants to re-start predecessor, the Phénix breeder, to carry out transmutation research (see article "French 'nuclear new year' begins with energy debate" in this WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor.)