The Newsletter of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy
Number 10 - Minutes of the Annual Meeting of 10th November 2001
This newsletter is archived and available to the public on the website of EFN : http://www.ecolo.org
Report of the Annual Meeting of 10th November 2001
As announced, the Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy was held on Saturday, 10th November 2001 at 15H00 at Houilles, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of our association.
The Board of Directors had met beforehand to discuss the state of affairs of the association, to prepare the meeting, and to examine the applications of new members received during the past year. It was decided to accept all applicants who had submitted application forms and paid their dues. Annual dues for the coming year are unchanged: Sympathizing Member: 25 euros - Active Member : 50 Euros - Benefactor Member: 100 euros.
The Annual Meeting opened at 15H00, in a warm and cordial atmosphere to discuss the announced agenda:
of the year's activities and substantive report of the
- Local correspondents of the Association
- Financial report for the year 2000.
- Election of the Board of Directors.
- Membership statistics: the growth of the association.
- EFN presentations at expositions: about a million visitors informed by our expos this year.
- Presentation of the Communication Group and lectures given by EFN.
- EFN's informational activities in Finland.
- Visits to nuclear sites.
- Mailing lists of EFN.
- Documents on nuclear energy.
- Subcommittees within EFN.
- Orientations and priorities for the coming year.
- How to become a member of EFN.
The President welcomed new-comers and presented a brief survey of the history of the Association since it was founded in November 1996, as well as this year's accomplishments.
A long discussion on nuclear energy then followed.
On the international scene, we have seen several major new developments this year which confirm the importance of nuclear energy as a clean and environmentally friendly source of energy:
-this year the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) confirmed the reality of global heating. They revised their previous predictions upwards, and strengthened their conviction that the increase is due to the emission of greenhouse gases in human activities.
- further to the Kyoto agreements : It is now clear that many industrialized countries will not abide by the obligations they undertook at Kyoto to reduce their emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. It is urgent that they reduce their emissions not only by 5% as they promised at Kyoto but by at least 50% so as to permit the development of the poorest countries while reducing human contributions to the greenhouse effect. This is all the more important in that the CO2 already dumped into the atmosphere will continue to heat the planet for a century or more, even if we were to cease further greenhouse emissions today.
- we now know that Asian countries such as China, Japan; India and Korea will count on nuclear energy as an essential component of their energy strategy so as to further develop without overly polluting the planet. This year, furthermore, some advanced countries which had until now been reticent have made positive declarations in looking toward the construction of new reactors; the United States; Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom have made statements of this nature.
- internationally, nuclear power has functioned excellently well, and by using it we have avoided dumping a billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
- a fifth reactor is planned in Finland, and the final decision is expected in 2002. The country has no other viable option if it is to meet its obligations under the Kyoto agreements (see an article below). This year, EFN participated actively in debates on nuclear energy in Finland, giving a speech at the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki, and a press conference which led to a dispatch by the Finnish Press Agency and to interviews with the Finnish press and television, helping to inform the public before the Parliament votes in 2002 on this important decision of constructing or not a fifth nuclear reactor in Finland. We also met with "Youth for Nuclear Energy", an association particularly active in Finland (see details in an attached article).
In France; the Greens remain stubbornly anti-nuclear, in spite of the obvious environmental advantages of nuclear energy. On the other hand, the political party Génération Ecologie has definitely turned pro-nuclear, proposing that the country adopt as a priority the reduction of its dependance on fossil fuel; there is no way to do this without relying even more upon nuclear energy. We should develop fuel cells as soon as possible so as to use hydrogen, especially for transportation, an ever increasing sector of our civilization.
- a few free thinkers holding positions of responsibility in the Green movement have come to see us and to say that, personally, they have some interest in our activity (but of course this reflected only their own opinion, not that of their movement).
The association has grown this year and at an increasing rate, especially on the international scale (see below). Our numbers are greater than ever.
The number of lectures has also increased, thanks to the action of our Communications Group, and we are grateful to our lecturers, especially, Michel, Alain and Jacques (more details below)
The internet site is being translated into several languages and every day we get messages of support from all over the world. We have new local correspondents in several countries.
Members may now pay their annual dues directly by credit card using a totally secure system on the Internet. This will be a great help in our international growth and we expect more members to join from all over the world.
In brief, EFN continues to develop its program and its membership at top speed, and even faster than we had anticipated.
The book "Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy" appeared in English this year with a preface by James Lovelock. The Romanian version will soon be published. Translations are in progress for Japanese, Russian, German, Italian, Portuguese, Czech and Slovenian versions.
Our activities in writing "letters to the editor" and our pursuit of juridical matters is more intense than ever.This year we have, notably, won a lawsuit against those who attacked us at the fair in Tours (a complete account of this matter appears on the Internet site). We lent our support to the municipality of Sisteron in their courageous fight against an association which was broadcasting alarming disinformation with no scientific foundation about radioactivity in that town. We also supported Professor Pellerin in his libel suit against the member of the European Parliament, Mr Noel Mamere (Green party), a suit in which Professor Pellerin won both the judgment and the appeal against it.
A number of important persons have joined EFN to support our program. They follow James Lovelock who joined us last year; the reader will recall that he was one of the founders of ecology in the 1960s, the author of the Gaia theory which considers the Earth as a living organism. They include academicians, legislators and other well known ecologists. Among them, a former Assistant Secretary of Energy in the USA, and the leading ecologist in Romania, Simon Hancu who was his country's first minister of the environment.
In summary, EFN continues to develop in numbers and in reputation even more rapidly than expected.
We thank you all!
The Association now has members, supporters and 56 local correspondents; a growth of 36% this year. They are to be found in over 30 countries on 5 continents:
- in different regions of France.
- in western Europe: Germany; Belgium, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
- in eastern Europe: Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Ukraine
- in North America: Canada and about ten states of the USA.
- in South America: Argentina and Brazil.
- in Asia: Korea, Iran, Japan and Taiwan.
- in Africa: Morocco and South Africa, and
- in Australia.
Anyone who wishes to help develop our activities may ask to become a local correspondent to represent the Association in his country, in his region, in his town, or just among those around him. The procedure has been simplified this year and one needs only fill out the form "request to become a local correspondent" available on the web site <www.ecolo.org>. Then print it and fax this form to EFN at +33 1 30 86 00 33.
The local correspondent is under no obligation to pay dues or to attend meetings. His role is simply to provide local voluntary support for the objectives of the association to whatever extent he can, for example : to help make the Association known to those around him by speaking about it to friends, neighbors and colleagues, to circulate the petition, to make local contacts, to insert notices in local newpapers, to translate some documents, write local articles, develop local activities, etc.
All ideas and suggestions are welcome. Since we want to take advantage of all good will, it may occur that there are two or more local correspondents in the same country, region or even in the same city. In this case they form a local group and coordinate their activities.
The accounts for the year 1st January to 31st December 2000 were presented to the Annual Meeting.
We note that the level of receipts and expenses remains modest. This is made possible by the fact that the association functions completely on the basis of volunteer contributions of effort. Each one participates as best he can so that the association's work is carried out with operating costs kept to the barest minimum.
In view of the expansion of our activities in Europe, in the United States and Asia, which leads us to spend more and more on communications, it would be desireable if not urgent to increase the association's income.
After the presentation of accounts, the Annual Meeting voted the financial report 2000. The accounts were approved unanimously.
Article 11 of the By-laws of the Association requires the Annual Meeting to elect the Board of Directors. The Annual Meeting voted to re-elect the previous Board:
President : Bruno COMBY, graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique (X80), nuclear physicist, author of ten books on health and the environment, including the famous bestseller "Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy"
Vice-president : Professor Henri JOYEUX, medical surgeon and professor of Medicine at the Montpellier Medical School, International Cancer Prize, editor of the "Human Ecology" collection of Editions de Guibert.
General Secretary : Hubert CHOPIN, magistrate and vice-president of the Higher Court of Justice of Troyes.
Deputy Secretary : Michel NORAZ, retired, organic gardener, member of the city council of Greville-Hague.
Treasurer : Pierre-Yves VINCENT, expert accountant in a firm of accountants.
As of 5th October 2001, EFN had 4672 members and supporters. We were 4028 a year ago. EFN has grown over 15% this year.
The symbolic level of 4000 members and supporters has been exceeded in less than four years, rather than five years as originally planned.
You may recall that we had set our initial objectives as follows:
- to have 100 members and signers of the
petition at the end of the first year
- to have 1000 members and signers of the petition at the end of the second year
- to have 2000 members and signers of the petition at the end of the third year
- to have 3000 members and signers of the petition at the end of the fourth year;
numbers which have been largely exceeded!
The association continues to grow as more and more people become aware of the environmental advantages of nuclear energy - that it is clean and environmentally friendly.
This year EFN presented its activities to the public in the framework of several expositions and professional shows.
That series of expositions and professional shows gave us the opportunity to make the public aware of the importance of questions about energy and the environment, and to answer questions of the public concerning nuclear energy and its impact on the environment. About a million people visited the expositions and professional shows in which we took part. Public reception was warm and honest. People asked many questions, particularly about nuclear waste products, and their treatment and about many rumors which circulate: the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, the safety of the transport of nuclear materials, discharge from the plant at La Hague, what to do with nuclear waste and the impact of nuclear energy on public health in general. Since 11th September 2001, we are often asked questions about terrorist attacks. Many of our visitors are pleased to be able to learn and to discuss these questions, and many are glad to sign the petition. A few anti-nuclear activists (which represent a very, very small minority of the general population) do not share our point of view, and then we may have a passionate discussion which never fails to attract the attention of other visitors.
Overall, everything goes calmly and in good humor at these shows. We seem to see a diminution of the strong opposition of a small number of resolutely anti-nuclear persons who would be ready to do anything to defend their convictions, although we still observe a few such reactions here and there.
You will recall that EFN was the victim of a violent agression by anti-nuclear environmentalists at a show at Tours on 5th June 1999. The agressors were hailed into court and this year EFN won a judgment against them. The president of EFN and two volunteers (Monique and Jean-Marie Lecocq) were present at the stand that day and were publicly insulted, threatened, and assaulted by very hostile agressors for over half an hour, and the agressors then began to take down the stand without autorization and in the face of the peaceful protests of the EFN volunteers. The organizers of the show, apparently anti-nuclear themselves, did not put a halt to the agression and refused to call the guards.
Our assailants were strongly condemned by the Superior Court of Tours, and ordered to pay damages to the President of EFN, in recognition of the insults and the forced removal of the stand. The defendants were represented by a prominent law firm, and they did not appeal the decision of the court.
We note that such sporadic hostile reactions are in general not the work of the public visitors, but almost always come from members or sympathizers of anti-nuclear organizations or pseudo-independant organizations who pretend to be pacifists, but who do not hesitate to violently attack those who do not share their radical anti-nuclear views.
Most visitors to these shows are indeed very happy to discover EFN and that there many environmentalists in favor of nuclear energy.
It appears that the overall result of these shows, in terms of human relations, communications, exchanges, distribution of information and contact with the public is very positive and we intend to continue the program next year.
Our thanks to all who helped to set up and attend the stands, to present the activities of EFN at these expos; particularly Jean-Claude, but also Jean-Marie, Monique, Serge, Hubert, Alain, Yves, Luc, Annie, Homaira.....
Presentation of the Communications Group of EFN (GR COM)
This group led by Jacques Frot (retired from the oil industry) consists of 15 competent and motivated "communicators". Jacques presented the very positive result of their activities.
In point of fact, energy is a vast lacune in the public knowledge. and there are many cliches and false ideas floating around, which need to be clarified and demystified.
Most people have no idea about how a nuclear power plant works, about the impact of different sources of energy on public health and on the environment, about how nuclear wastes - and others - are treated - or not, about how power stations are dismantled at the end of their working life, etc. They do not realize that information given out by the public authorities, by the anti-nukes and by the news media is often incomplete and biased.
Nothing can be compared to the exchange between a competent and enthusiastic speaker and the audience who put questions to him. That is why the EFN's GR COM (communication group) gives lectures on the theme of nuclear energy.
The organization of this group is very simple. Standard lecture modules concerning different forms of energy and their environmental impact are prepared including written presentations and transparencies. Their object is to better inform the public by providing information as complete and as objective as possible.
During the course of the past year, about fifty such lectures were given.
The lectures given by EFN's GR COM are delivered to various audiences: schools and universities, social-professional organizations, city halls and cultural centers, clubs and associations, etc.
Of course the speakers adapt their discourse to the level of the audience.
After the lecture the audience is invited to ask questions, whether on the subject of the lecture or on related topics - no taboos, no restrictions.
In a little over two years after the inauguration of the GR COM program, over 100 such lectures have been given before audiences totalling some 5000 persons..
EFN has participated in public and environmental meetings, at schools and universities, before clubs and associations and, this year for the first time, has been invited to speak to legislators (members of Parliament) of the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki as well as at the first international symposium of the World Nuclear Association in London.
See the up-to-date program of past and future lectures on GR COM's website: http://www.ecolo.org/conferences/
Information is available there on how to organize a lecture in your town or region.
EFN informational activities Finland
The president of the Association was invited to visit Finland to inform legislators and the Finnish press, in view of the forthcoming decision as to whether or not build a fifth nuclear reactor to help satisfy the country's growing demands for electricity: The program included:
- a 2-hour presentation at the Parliament on 18th October before an audience of legislators and prominent persons (including a representative of a major anti-nuclear association). It was a solemn occasion in an imposing site. A one-hour lecture in English entitled "Nuclear power, the future of ecology?" was well appreciated by the audience and was followed by a question and answer period.
This speech is presented on the web site in Finnish and English at:
- an interview with Suomen Kuvalehti: the principal Finnish weekly magazine which published a two-page spread presenting EFN and explaining the ecological advantages of nuclear energy. It is worth noting that this magazine is usually anti-nuclear. The article, the cover, and an English translation are on the web site:
Article : http://www.ecolo.org/media/articles/articles.in.finnish/articleFI.SK10_01.p2.jpg
Cover : http://www.ecolo.org/media/articles/articles.in.finnish/articleFI.SK10_01.couv.jpg
English translation : http://www.ecolo.org/media/articles/articles.in.finnish/suomen_kuvalethi_26_10_01.htm
- a press conference at the "Finnish Club" (Suomalainen Klubi); EFN was presented and we had an informal interview with about a dozen journalists: they raised the usual questions about nuclear energy - the advantages and disadvantages, waste, Chernobyl, terrorist attacks, etc (see on the web site the document of EFN about the risk of terrorist attacks on a nuclear power plant). The Finnish national press agency prepared a very good dispatch which was widely printed. About a dozen articles have appeared since then describing the environmental advantages of nuclear energy:
- a luncheon and presentation of the same material before about a hundred members and guests of the Club.
- a television broadcast - a 30 minute interview broadcast at prime time: the interview was filmed in the afternoon in the Helsinki "City of Sciences"
- a pleasant dinner and yet another presentation to about 30 "young people for nuclear energy", members of a very active association of students and young people of a variety of interests. We shared our experience about how to go about informing the public.
Presentation of this group in Finnish: http://www.ydinenergianuoret.fi (click on the english flag for an English presentation)
- a visit at the Loviisa nuclear power station equipped with two VVER reactors of 480 MW. The Finns have modified these Russian reactors to bring them up to western standards of safety.
- a visit to the underground storage site for low- and medium-level waste.
As a consequence of our visit, two prominent persons have joined the Scientific and Medical Committee of EFN:
- Mr Jorma K. MIETTINEN, of the Finnish Academy, emeritus professor and formerly director of the scientific research organization in Finland.
- Mr Martti TIURI, member of Parliament and specialist in radioprotection and medical applications of radiation.
We made this trip at the invitation of the Franco-Finnish Chamber of Commerce whom we wish to thank profusely for its warm welcome and for the careful preparation of our program in Finland.
Visits to nuclear sites
This year, delegations of EFN visited the following sites in the framework of its communications activities:
The nuclear power station at Blayais (December 2000).
The nuclear site at Sellafield (UK) (June 2001)
An ultramodern wind turbine farm in Great Britain (June 2001)
The nuclear power stqtion at Loviisa in Finland with its VVER 488 reactor, as well as the adjacent storage site for low level and intermediate level waste (October 2001).
Since the creation of EFN its delegations have visited: the nuclear reprocessing plant at LaHague (twice), the EDF nuclear power station at Penly (two 1300 MW reactors), the former proposed laboratory of ANDRA at La Chapelle-Baton (Vienne), the Superphenix fast neutron reactor (1450 MW), the Marcoule plant for processing liquid effluents (STEL), the Centraco plant for packaging low-level waste, the Melox plant for fabricating MOX fuel, the Chalk River nuclear center in Ontario (Canada), the nuclear power station at Civaux, the laboratory for underground storage of nuclear wastes at Mol (Belgium), Guarapari in Brazil, one of the most naturally radioactive places in the world where natural radioactivity levels rises locally as high as 40 microSieverts per hour (several hundred times more than in other locations), the nuclear power station at Angra (Brazil), the BR2 and BR3 reactors in Belgium (the first PWRs in Europe, now being dismantled).
Mailing lists of EFN
EFN has two mailing lists, in French and in English, with about 1000 names on each. The lists have grown substantially the last year.
This service is gratis and available to those who are not even members of the association. To be kept uptodate on EFN you have only to subscribe on-line with your e-Mail address. You may have either the French version or the English or both. Don't forget to subscribe again if your e-mail changes.
Documents on nuclear energy
Many documents on nuclear energy are available on EFN's website in .DOC or .PDF or .HTML format, and in English, German, French, and many other languages. New documents are added regularly. See: http://www.ecolo.org/documents/
We call your attention especially to Jacques Frot's excellent document on Chernobyl. His text was translated by local correspondents and broadly distributed in several languages in order to inform the press on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the incident. It was notably published in its entirety in a Japanese magazine.
A document entitled "plutonium is natural" debunks the old myth that plutonium does not exist in nature, often brought up by certain badly informed associations. Of course, we don't mean to minimize the danger of plutonium and we underline that great care must be taken in handling it in large quantities. But it is useful to point out that nicotine is almost as poisonous and that it kills millions of people each year, and that it not confined at all. Natural plutonium is produced in small amounts by cosmic radiation interacting with the uranium present in 3 parts per million in the earth's crust: thus a kilogram of earth contains about 3 milligrams of uranium and several million atoms of plutonium.
The many documents available on the web site show the advantages and disadvantages of various forms of energy, the fundamental need to save energy by resorting to more efficient uses; and many other subjects.
Subcommittees within EFN
Each subcommittee works in close cooperation with the board of directors of EFN :
- The communication group of EFN (GR COM): is led by Jacques Frot with the help of Michel, Alain, and Bruno - it is composed of a total of 15 authorized lecturers).
- Legal affairs: Hubert and Raoul (attorney at the Paris bar).
- Membership management : the secretariate.
- The CSPI/La Hague group : Michel and Jean-Paul.
- Strategy and general organization: the Board of Directors.
- A youth organization: Mathieu and Delphine.
- "Letters to the editor", external relations, contacts with journalists and politicians, as well as the organization of site visits: Michel
- American and international affairs : Berol.
Projects and priorities for the coming year
Our projects and priorities for the coming year are:
- the growth of the Association. The next target is to reach the symbolic milestone of 5000 members and supporters as soon as possible.
- increase the number of local correspondents and our international activities. In particular we have in mind the creation of a new and independent association by members and friends in the USA.
- the modernization of the web site: the site has received over 30 000 hits since it was established. We intend to put on line many pages of new information to explain the relative advantages and shortcomings of various sources of energy, and to progressively add new information in various languages, with the help of our local correspondents for the translations.
- continuation of activities to inform the public :
Spread the good word about EFN around you wherever you are - all volunteer help is welcome!
The Annual Meeting ended at 8 P.M. and was followed by a healthy organic buffet supper.
The next Annual Meeting will be held: in the autumn 2002.
How to become a member of EFN
You may join the mailing list of EFN; it's gratis. All you have to do is to subscribe on line as explained. You may also join and support EFN by filling out the application form which is found on the website at :
http://www.ecolo.org/subscri/subscrien.htm (click on this address when connected to the internet to access it)
SUPPORT ENVIRONMENTALISTS FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY! If you share our views, sign the petition and join the Association. You can become a sympathizing member for only 25 Euros which includes subscription to the newsletter, and a donating member for 100 Euros. Membership is valid for one year. If you are already a member, you may renew your membership now. No matter when you renew your membership, it will be extended for a full year from the date of expiration of your present membership. Thank you for joining EFN and for supporting clean nuclear energy.
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