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Nuclear Renaissance Collides with 140,000 Anti-Nuclear Germans at Chernobyl Anniversary

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Message Dave Kraft

CHICAGO/HAMBURG--Only days before the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, German safe-energy/anti-nuclear advocates formed a 120,000 person, 120 km (~75 mile) human chain between two aging nuclear reactors today to protest the election-year announcement of Chancellor Angela Merkel to continue operation of the reactors.

Authorities and event planners concur that at least 120,000 people were part of the human chain event, connecting the aging Brunsbà ttel reactor near Heide with the Krà mmel reactors site of 2 nuclear accidents in 2007 and 2009 -- east of Hamburg, on the Elbe River near the North Sea.

In addition, over 10,000 activists demonstrated at both the Bidlis reactor site in southern German state of Hessen, and also at the Gronau nuclear fuel enrichment and waste storage facility near MÃ nster (Ahaus in North Rhine Westphalia, near the Netherlands border).

Event planners stated, "Today will spark a countrywide chain reaction of protests and resistance if the government does not reverse its atomic policy," in reference to plans by the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel to extend the operating lifespan of these three aging nuclear reactor facilities. This is an election year in Germany, a point emphasized by the demonstrators.

The size and scope of the event also demonstrates that the nuclear industry's self-proclaimed "nuclear renaissance" is still largely an artifact of its well-funded PR machine to buy column inches and air time, not a firm demonstration of support among large populations of the planet, including the U.S. and France.

"Despite the enormity of the German event, it has as yet received no mention in U.S. mainstream press. This is in spite of the initial coverage given to it by Reuters and CNN-International," notes David Kraft, director of the Chicago based nuclear watchdog group, Nuclear Energy Information Service.

Ignoring huge anti-nuclear demonstrations is not unusual for the U.S. press, which has been heavily influenced by the nuclear renaissance PR blitz, according to Kraft. "Several years ago, 60 Minutes ran a piece on "how the French love their nuclear!', only to fail to mention that around the time of their filming, 40,000 French in 5 major cities hit the streets on the same day opposing nuclear power. The power of advertising dollars and good-old-boy networks seems to know no bounds."

The Obama Administration and the U.S. Senate are expected to unveil their pro-nuclear-laden climate legislation on Monday, April 26th -- the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine. At stake are tens (to potentially hundreds) of billions of dollars in loan guarantees to support the construction of new nuclear reactors, ostensibly to be built to fight global warming. This political proposal moves forward despite ample proof provided by critics that this expenditure on new nuclear reactors will have little if any impact at all on the global climate crisis, other than to make it worse.

[NOTE: this is a corrected version of a piece submitted 4/24/2010]

Nuclear Energy information Service of Chicago is a non-profit nuclear power watchdog and safe-energy education organization.

For more information on the protest:

Ausgestrahlt: http://www.ausgestrahlt.de ; photos, links, YouTube clip, and live blog of the event (in German)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUT7lts7mbU&feature=player_embedded

Reuters: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE63N036.htm

Deutsche Welle: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5502867,00.html

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Currently director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, a safe-energy environmental group dedicated to ending nuclear power, responsibly managing the nuclear waste legacy, and replacing these with viable, sustainable (more...)

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