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240 Greenpeace Activists Take Direct Action Protesting Europe's Aging Nuclear Reactors

Energy

By Isadora Wronski

Last week, 240 Greenpeace activists from national and regional offices took action across Europe to highlight the risk of aging nuclear reactors.

In Switzerland, about 100 Greenpeace activists from six different countries entered the station at Beznau. They climbed the superstructure of the reactor and hung banners demanding the immediate shut-down of the 45 year old power plant while a paraglider circled the sky.

In Sweden, twenty activists entered the the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant and four climbers unfolded a massive banner in the shape of a "pension notification letter" from the top of the reactor roof. Sweden has four of the ten oldest and most worn reactors in Europe.

In Spain, 30 activists started to "decommission" the Garoña nuclear power plant. Protestors chained themselves to the gates and unfolded banners as workers from the plant sprayed them with water cannons.

In the Netherlands, an animation of stress cracks and crumbling was projected onto the Borselle plant in the South of the country.

In France a "decommissioning team" symbolically blocked the entrance to the Bugey station and started to "decommission" the plant by taking down signs.

Eighty activists staged a decommissioning of the Tihange reactor in Belgium. A projection was made on a cooling tower, at the same time, several "decommissioning teams" entered the site, including ten climbers, who unfolded banners between the chimneys of the reactors. Fifty activists also placed a large nuclear barrel and various smaller barrels at the main entrance.

Watch this video of that action:

Here's a map where the actions took place:

Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.