Nuclear Waste and Pollution Conference in Vilnius 2011

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CONFERENCE, Vilnius, Lithuania, 6-8 December 2011
NUCLEAR POWER – CHALLENGES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, ECONOMY AND LEGISLATION

First Annoucement, 25 October 2011

Experts, NGOs, politicians and the mass-media are invited to participate in the international conference “Nuclear power – Challenges for the Environment, Health, Economy and Legislation” in Vilnius, Lithuania, 6 - 8 December 2011.

The March 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) in Japan renewed debate about the danger of nuclear power. More and more countries are phasing out nuclear power. However, the former Eastern Bloc countries Belarus, Lithuania and Russia continue to develop their nuclear power projects. At the same time incidents continue to occur, for example the contracting problems during the construction of Leningrad NPP-2.

At the conference environmentalists, biologists, medical doctors, economists, lawyers and other experts will discuss the key issues related to modern nuclear power as well as the influence of NPPs on society and nature in the light of the proposed construction of new NPPs in Belarus, Lithuania and the Kaliningrad region of Russia. Materials and conclusions presented will be discussed with politicians, representatives of civil society and the mass-media in the Baltic Sea region countries.

Goals

  • identificaiton of the basic environmental, economic, socio-political and legal problems of nuclear power, e.g, nuclear waste management, the impact of routine and accidental emissions from NPPs on human health and the environment, high costs of construction of nuclear power plants, uncertainty of economic indicators, problems with technical performance and legal standards in the design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants;
  • raising the key issues of nuclear power for discussion in various sectors of society including those who influence the decision making process and mass media of the countries that are actively developing nuclear energy programs: Lithuania, Belarus and Russia;
  • raising awareness about the key issues of nuclear power and its influence on health and the environment in the countries actively developing nuclear energy programs, and also about the current status of NPP projects in the region..

Co-organizers: Public Environmental Commission on the Belarus Nuclear Power Plant and Environment Impact Assessment, Atgaja (Lithuania).

Conference Committee: Atgaja (Lithuania), Public Association "Ecohouse" (Belarus), organizing Committee of the activist group "Scientists for a Nuclear-free Belarus", Belarusian Party "The Greens", "Women for Peace" (Finland), Milkas (Sweden), The Heinrich Boell Foundation (Germany), Green European Foundation and European Green Party.

Main Subjects of the Conference

  1. Nuclear waste management problems
    1. Disposal of nuclear waste: review and analysis of existing projects and practices. Asse II, Morsleben, Gorleben (Germany), Onkalo (Finland), and the KBS-3 spent nuclear repository proposed for Forsmark, Sweden.
    2. Storage of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. Review and analysis of existing practices and related problems. Transportation of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
  2. Impacts of radiation releases on human health and the environment
    1. The problem of assessing the impact of low doses of radiation: the ICRP and ECRR and models.
    2. The impact of routine releases of radioactivity from nuclear facilities on human health and the environment. Health assessment of the population living in the areas adjacent to existing nuclear power plants.
    3. The impact of emergency releases of radioactivity on human health and the environment. Consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophes.
  3. Cost-effectiveness of nuclear power
    1. Problems of economic calculations for existing and planned nuclear power plants.
    2. The cost of nuclear electricity, quantity of nuclear electricity generation, current market conditions and forecast.
    3. Problems related to sale and export of nuclear electricity.

Debate Themes

  1. Nuclear power, international law, human rights. Overview of the problems of implementing international environmental conventions (Aarhus and Espoo) and protection of human rights in nuclear power plant projects.
  2. Threats and risks of new NPPs in the Baltic Sea region: Ostrovets, Visaginas NPP and Baltic NPP.

Contact

  • Tatiana Novikova, Executive Secretary of the Public Environmental Commission on the Belarus Nuclear Power Plant and Conference Secretary
Phone: +375291065901, E-mail: novikova AT gmail.com[1]


Background

This year was the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. And in that same year, the accident occurred at Fukushima. Chernobyl and Fukusima have shown to the world, that nuclear power is not safe and can cause radioactive catastrophes.

Many European countries are actively debating the down of nuclear energy. Despite this, Belarus and Russia have declared that they would build a nuclear power plant, signed the agreement about construction of the Belarusian NPP and claimed, that the Belarusian nuclear power plant would be safer than Fukushima.

The three countries in the region - Belarus, Lithuania and Russia - continue the polemic about their NPP projects (Ostrovets, Visaginas NPP and Baltic NPP) and unsolved problems of NPP projects of their neighbours. The decommissioning and disassembling of the Ignalina nuclear power plant started already, but Belarus had not seen the EIA of that and has complained about it to Lithuania. Lithuania started to complain to the Committee of the Espoo Convention about the Belarusian NPP. Belarus says, they will start to do the same towards the new Lithuanian NPP.

That’s why we decided to organize a Conference in Vilnius, dedicated to the general problems of nuclear power - the nuclear waste and emissions, as well as to the local problems of the three NPP projects.

Description

  • Place: Vilnius
  • Dates: December 6-8, 2011
  • Time frame: about 3 days
  • Host co-organizers: Public Environmental Commission on Belarus Nuclear Power Plant Environment Impact Assessment, Atgaja (Lithuania)
  • AIMS:
    • raising awareness about the unsolved problems of nuclear waste and radioactive pollution as well as about the health effects of nuclear contamination
    • media outreach on the issues, mentioned above
    • put pressure on the authorities / states to stop the NPP construction projects in Belarus, Lithuania and Kaliningrad region
    • antinuclear movement mobilization
  • Target Groups:
    • mass-media
    • decision-makers (representatives of Belarus, Lithuania and Kaliningad region)
    • the persons influencing the decision making process (specialists of Ministries, Institutes of Academy of Sciences, Universities, experts)
    • NGOs, representatives of political parties and initiative groups, focused on the NPP issues in Belarus, Lithuania and Kaliningrad region
  • Participants: about 100 (speakers and main participants of discussions)
    • key experts on nuclear waste, radioactive pollution, emissions issues, radiological risks, medicine, environment
    • representatives of NGOs, antinuclear activists
    • representatives of scientific and technology community, universities
    • politicians, lawyers, MP's from different countries
    • others
  • Format: opening and closing plenary meetings, presentations, working groups, discussion panels, etc


Media


Action: Nuclear waste - not a solution

On 2011 December 9 (the day after the end of the conference), environmental activists from Lithuania organized a public action "Nuclear waste - not a solution" at the entrance to the Ministry of Environment. They brought carton boxes - "radioactive waste" as a present to the Ministry of Environment.

The event was organized on the day, when the most important decisions were expected to be made in UN Climate Change Conference in Durban (South Africa), where delegation of Lithuanian Ministry of Environment also participates. Activists reminded Ministry of Environment that generating nuclear waste is not a solution to the problems of climate change. "Nuclear energy creates more problems than solves", - said activists.


Poland begs off new Lithuanian NPP venture, environmentalists demand to scrap the nuke plant project altogether

Poland has announced it would not participate in the construction of the new nuclear power plant (NPP) to replace the shut-down Ignalina in neighboring Lithuania’s Visaginas. Nor was Warsaw interested in buying electricity from Baltic NPP, a project Russia has been actively, if not exactly successfully, pursuing in its enclave in the same region. On December 9, when the statements came, environmentalists in Vilnius picketed Lithuania’s environmental protection ministry demanding to stop the dangerous project in Visaginas.

More:

Russian orgginal:


Media Coverage of the Conference

Action in Vilnius one day after the conference:


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