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© Fotolia/Energiewende/jonasginter
© Fotolia/Energiewende/jonasginter


On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Naturefriends International demands the active implementation of a sustainable energy transition in Europe. Important instruments are the introduction of CO2 taxes and true-cost pricing for nuclear power plants.

The 26th of April 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Five years have passed since the catastrophe in Fukushima in March 2011. Despite these sad events, several countries still rely on nuclear energy – and thus expose their population to a great risk.

Nuclear power plants not profitable without subsidies
In Europe, 93 nuclear power plants are in operation in 18 countries; 11 reactor blocks are currently being built – in many cases with public subsidies. For example, the planned new reactors in Great Britain need a state subsidy of € 95 per MWh, otherwise they would not be profitable. Furthermore, the majority of power plants have not set aside sufficient provisions for the costs after the end of the operating period. These are thus shifted onto future generations.

No true-cost pricing for fossil fuels
At the same time, coal-fired power stations are being increasingly rebuilt, although they aggravate the greenhouse effect through the emission of carbon dioxide. Were CO2 emissions to be subject to taxes, those power stations would not be profitable either. Manfred Pils, president of Naturefriends International, says, “The pivotal element of sustainable energy policies is increasing the costs for carbon dioxide emissions. Only in that case will there be an incentive to avoid fossil fuels – in production, transport, heating and air conditioning.”
Renewable energies as opportunity
A focus on renewable energy sources would not only considerably contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but in the medium term would also lead to a drop in energy costs and help fight energy poverty. "At the moment, a huge part of energy provision costs cover the production and transport of oil, coal and gas − to a large extent, the money goes to the producing countries where it often supports more or less undemocratic, often corrupt governments and oligarchs. Sun, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy are free energy resources. The costs are predominantely used for power plants, modern technologies and services provided on site" says Manfred Pils.

For a sustainable energy transition, Naturefriends International demands:

  • CO2 taxation as an incentive to avoid fossil fuels!
  • No subsidies for nuclear power plants and a prohibition to shift the costs for the disposal of nuclear waste onto future generations!
  • Acceleration of research in the fields of renewable energy production and storage of electricity!
  • Promotion of electric mobility!
  • Legal obligation to insulate buildings in order to reduce energy consumption!
  • Consumer protection from energy poverty, e.g. by reducing energy taxes!

NFI is the international umbrella organisation of the Naturefriends movement, uniting over 
50 member organisations and approximately 500,000 members. The focus of NFI’s work is on creating and implementing sustainable development of the environment and society. NFI is member of the “Green 10”, a coalition of ten leading environmental NGOs active at the EU level.

Manfred Pils
President of the Naturefriends International
Cornelia Kühhas
Naturfreunde Internationale, Public Relations 
Tel.: +43 (0)1 89 23 877-42