Energy NGOs warn of nuclear power 'catastrophe' threat
MOSCOW, March 9, 2006 (AFP) -
Former Soviet nuclear plants threaten an "ecological catastrophe", non-government energy groups warned at a meeting of NGOs here Thursday aimed at lobbying Russia's presidency of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations.
Speakers at the meeting also warned of the dangers of nuclear sites and other energy production and transport facilities in the face of terrorism and the economic and social threats posed by oil prices and climate change.
Toktaim Umetaliyeva, representing an association of Kyrgyz NGOs, called for a "struggle against corruption in the exploitation of energy sites," particularly former Soviet nuclear plants that "threaten the whole of central Asia with ecological catastrophe."
The meeting aimed to draw up a list of proposals to present to delegations of the G8 group which will meet at a Russian-hosted summit in July.
Speakers voiced concern over non-renewable energy sources and the prospect of new nuclear power projects.
Alexei Toropov of the Siberian Ecological Agency called for the public to be consulted on nuclear projects in Siberia. Uranium supplies would be exhausted sooner than coal, he said.
"The 21st century is a turning point," said Thierry Chambolle, representing the French NGO Agir ABCD.
"It is probably in the course of this century that we will see the end of oil and gas resources, which constitutes an extraordinary threat to humanity," he added.
Peter Schulz, one of the representatives from a group of German ecological and development groups, said countries should be forced to sign the European Energy Charter.
This 1991 charter by the European Commission aims at promoting European Union cooperation on energy with eastern European and former Soviet countries. Russia has signed the text but not yet ratified it.
Umetaliyeva called for the use of clean sources for producing hydrogen fuel.
Another German delegate, Juergen Maier, complained that some countries lacked laws encouraging investment in renewable energy sources.
Russia will host July's summit in Saint Petersburg of its fellow G8 members -- the United States, Britain, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and Japan.