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GREENPEACE

Nuclear vote condemned as activists face trial

Environmental group Greenpeace described a decision by the Swedish parliament to approve the construction of new nuclear reactors, as 27 activists were tried for illegal trespass at the Forsmark plant north of Stockholm this week.

Nuclear vote condemned as activists face trial

“With a narrow majority, the members of parliament show they do not take the environmental risks posed by nuclear power seriously, and that they do not trust in the enormous potential there is for Swedish renewable energy,” Greenpeace spokesman Ludvig Tillman said in a statement.

The parliamentary vote came as prosecutor Magnus Berggren asked a court in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, to sentence most of the 29 activists arrested Monday for breaking into the Forsmark nuclear power plant to fines and suspended prison sentences.

The court is set to rule on the charges of illegal trespass on July 1st.

The activists, dressed up as brightly coloured renewable energy sources wind, water and sun, were part of a Greenpeace demonstration calling on parliamentarians to vote against the nuclear proposal.

Berggren said there was no need to hold the 28 foreign activists, including 13 Germans, in custody.

However, he called for the court to sentence the lone Swede in the group, who had a record of similar protests across Europe, to a short prison sentence, the TT news agency reported.

Other Greenpeace activists meanwhile stood outside the Swedish parliament during the drawn-out debate, holding up a banner imploring parliamentarians to “vote no”.

Criticism of the nuclear reactor replacement plan, which is set to take effect on January 1st 2011, was not limited to activists however with the three main left-leaning opposition parties voting against the proposal.

Green Party spokeswoman Maria Wetterstrand scolding the long-time nuclear critics the Centre Party for siding with its coalition partners.

Voting in favour of the proposal, she said, “could mean Sweden will be making itself dependent on nuclear power for 100 more years and there will be 100,000 years of consequences for future generations who will have to take care of the waste,” she said during the parliamentary debate.

Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, of the Centre Party, meanwhile defended the government’s energy proposal.

“It is a myth that nuclear power is forcing out renewable energies. (Renewables) have won the game. Why then exclude nuclear from the plan?” he asked.

Carlgren also stressed voters would be able to express themselves on the new energy plan, which is set to take effect at the beginning of next year, in the upcoming September 19th elections.

If the three-party opposition manages to climb to power, it is expected to try to reverse Thursday’s ruling.

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NUCLEAR

Russia’s ‘nuclear titanic’ sets off for Swedish coast

A Russian power plant dubbed a “nuclear Titanic” by environmental campaigners set off on Saturday on its way to Sweden’s Baltic coast.

Russia's 'nuclear titanic' sets off for Swedish coast
The Akademik Lomonosov nuclear power station sets off from St Petersburg on Saturday. Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky/TT/AP
Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, left the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg on Saturday morning.
 
It is expected to reach the Swedish coast next week, before making its way through the narrow Öresund straits, across the Kattegat and into the North Sea. 
 
“We are following this closely through our cooperation with other countries and through our own national agencies,” Johan Friberg, Director of the Swedish Radiation Safety Agency told Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT
 
Russia’s development of a floating nuclear power plant has generated alarm among its Nordic neighbours, with Norway’s foreign minister Børge Brende last June warning that the plan to transport it fully fuelled raised “serious questions”. 
 
Karolina Skog, Sweden’s environment minister, argued last June that floating nuclear power stations created “a new type of risk”. 
 
“It is important that Russia makes every effort to fulfil the criteria of international agreements, which should be seen as applying to floating nuclear power stations as well,” she said.  
 
After a meeting in Moscow that July, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom relented on its plans to drag the reactor through the Baltic fuelled, saying that the plant would instead be fuelled in Murmansk after it had arrived in the Russian Arctic. 
 
“We will carry out the transportation through the Baltic and the Scandinavian region without nuclear fuel on board,” Alexey Likhachev told the Independent Barents Observer.  
 
Jan Haverkamp, nuclear expert for Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, has attacked the plant as a ‘nuclear Titanic’, and “threat to the Arctic” 
 
“Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change,” he said in a press release
 
After the plant is fuelled and tested, it will be pulled across to Pevek on the Eastern Siberian Sea, where it will be used to power oil rigs. 
 
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