A change in the original plans can only be achieved through a change of opinion among decision-makers.
After the Fukushima disaster, the state of Baden-Württemberg asked France to shut down the 34-year-old Fessenheim plant, just two kilometers from the border, for three months — the same moratorium initially planned for Germany’s oldest plants after Fukushima.
Less than a year after securing the rapid phaseout of nuclear plants in Germany, citizens concerned about nuclear safety are facing the unwholesome prospect of new plants popping up just over the border in neighboring countries. But they aren’t letting it happen without a fight.
A demonstration was held on Sunday near France’s oldest nuclear power plant which started operation 34 years ago, demanding the immediate shutdown of the facility. Over 500 people gathered for the rally in the eastern French town of Fessenheim near the German and Swiss borders. Some of the activists were from Germany and Switzerland.
France’s nuclear authorities are asking the power company that operates the plant to reinforce the structure of the reactor. Fessenheim 2 goes into outage in mid-April for the upgrades. President Nicolas Sarkozy is being cautious about closing the Fessenheim plant, while his main challenger, Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party, is calling for its immediate shutdown.
After Poland announced several possible locations for new reactors, including one less than 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the German border, German citizens flooded the Polish government with letters objecting to the plans. Environmental groups claim that a week ago Wednesday alone, the last day of the comment period, opponents of the plans submitted 50,000 objections.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government also submitted a statement, as did Anita Tack, a Left Party member and the environment minister of the state of Brandenburg, which is home to the majority of Germany’s shared border with Poland.
“It is incomprehensible to me that our Polish neighbors still want to stick to their plans after the Fukushima disaster,” Tack wrote in a letter to the Polish Economics Ministry last month. “Brandenburg has been against the use of nuclear power from the start,” Tack noted.