Anti-Nuclear Global2000 Intentionally Spreading False Alarm Reports about Mochovce

03/04/2019
Anti-Nuclear Global2000 Intentionally Spreading False Alarm Reports about Mochovce
This is a response to Global2000, whose claims were uncritically adopted by the Austrian media without obtaining a statement from nuclear experts.

Slovenské elektrárne strongly objects to the way in which the anti-nuclear organisation Global2000 is scaremongering through reports about the Mochovce nuclear power plant. Referring to an anonymous source, the anti-nuclear group claims that the massive, meter and half thick reinforced concrete containment wall of the new reactor at Mochovce plant is not safe enough due to the drilling for anchoring technological equipment at the nuclear site.

The claim is misleading, false, and shows the absolute ignorance on the side of Global2000 with regard to complex projects to increase the seismic resilience of both existing and under-construction sites, and is intended to spread fear and panic among the inhabitants of Austria and Slovakia as well.

Containment tightness exceeds expectations

During the construction of Mochovce units 3 and 4, Slovenské elektrárne implemented a comprehensive seismic reinforcement project, with more than 60 000 steel anchoring plates installed that were fully in compliance with the engineering calculations and the approved project design. The outcome was an increase in the resistance of both units to potential earthquakes at the Mochovce site, whereby the company attained a situation exceeding international standards applied in this field.

Over the recent weeks, Slovenské elektrárne has thoroughly tested the tightness of the containment of the nuclear power plant, with excellent results. The containment parameters showed that under the pressure of 150 kPa the achieved results were twice as good as the limits set by the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA). We therefore strictly reject any statements of insufficient tightness or weakness of the containment.

Scaremongering

The aim of the Austrian anti-nuclear organisation Global2000 is to stop the commissioning of units 3 and 4 of the Mochovce installation by any means, including the increased media pressure on the Austrian government. To this end they use the means bordering on false scaremongering rumours. We consider their requests and proposals to be deliberately false and we refuse them in their entirety.

Below we attach the full wording of Slovenské elektrárne’s response to the request for a meeting addressed to us by Global2000 in February this year:

Dear Ms. Lorenz,

respectfully, we decline your request. Your organization’s key mission is to stop all nuclear activities by any and all means all around the world. Our goal is to continue production from nuclear. Nuclear has been one of the safest ways of producing electricity in the world and the single largest source of low carbon electricity in Europe, saving million tons of CO2 emissions. Many top scientists, environmentalists and climate experts, including James Hansen, James Lovelock, Ken Caldeira, Carlo Rubbia, Ted Nordhaus and many other notable authorities throughout the world agree that nuclear must be a part of the fight against climate change. Our operating power plants have had excellent track records in all aspects of their operation. We continue to communicate the progress on the Mochovce site with our key stakeholders, public officials and many others. As in the past, we will continue to provide answers to all relevant questions within the process managed by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. But we find our views irreconcilable and consider your effort as nothing but a pretext to further spread nuclear phobia.

Allow me to use this opportunity to quote from the Open Letter to Environmentalist on Nuclear Energy: “Although renewable energy sources like wind and solar will likely make increasing contributions to future energy production, these technology options face real-world problems of scalability, cost, material and land use, meaning that it is too risky to rely on them as the only alternatives to fossil fuels. Nuclear power—being by far the most compact and energy-dense of sources—could also make a major, and perhaps leading, contribution. As scientists, we declare that an evidence-based approach to future energy production is an essential component of securing biodiversity’s future and cannot be ignored. It is time that conservationists make their voices heard in this policy arena.”

Others experts have taken similar approach. Bill Gates, for example, supported nuclear by saying just last December “Solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day.”

It is an irrefutable fact that nuclear shut-dows, which is your ultimate goal in all countries, have and will lead to replacement by or delayed phase-out by fossil fuels everywhere, with Germany being a notable example of a country unable to meet its climate goals and even lower its emissions from electricity generation because of that. This is confirmed by no other than the Union of Concern Scientists, one of the worlds’ foremost watchdogs, which for this very reason even called for “temporary financial support to avoid the early closure of nuclear plants” and stated that “limiting the worst effects of climate change may also require other low- or no-carbon energy solutions, including nuclear power”.

I will be more than happy to meet you when I see that you can accept views differing from your own and recognize nuclear as one of the legitimate ways to produce low-carbon electricity. Allow me conclude my answer with a statement of Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, who said at the Central European Energy Conference in Bratislava last year the following: “We all have our favorite fuels, some wind,  some solar, some nuclear. But we have to decide, what is our aim. Is our aim to increase our ego or reduce CO2 emissions? We have to make a choice."