Baltic Sea NGO Forum, Stockholm, 5-7 October 2006: Introduction to the Conference Documentation, by Per Hegelund, Milkas

Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2006 Documentation

Dear friends,

In 2006 Sweden was the host of the 6th annual Baltic Sea NGO Forum – which took place in a fancy hotel in Saltsjöbaden outside Stockholm, 5-7th of October.  The Swedish Foreign Ministry sponsored the conference.  As a real breakthrough, we – in this case MILKAS, The Swedish Environmental Movement’s Nuclear Waste Secretariat – were put in charge of coordinating a workshop under the environmental theme, and we chose to give it the title “The Radioactive Contamination of the Baltic Sea.”

Baltic Sea NGO Forum, Stockholm, 5-7 Oct. 2006Grand Hotel, Saltsjöbaden. Photo: Per Hegelund.I went personally to both Tallinn in Estonia, and to St. Petersburg in Russia to connect with the most active NGOs (Coalition Clean Baltic in Tallinn, and both Green World and Bellona in St. Petersburg) before the conference. We also did our utmost to bring the most informed official regional experts to the conference – and succeeded!  Two regional, intergovernmental institutions have expert working groups on the subject of radioactivity in the Baltic Sea region: that is HELCOM MORS (Monitoring of Radioactive Substances) with the Helsinki Commission, and WGNRS (Working Group on Nuclear and Radiation Safety) with the Council of Baltic Sea States.  Representatives from both expert groups participated at the conference – and included here are PDF versions of their PowerPoint presentations.

I personally gave a presentation from Sweden and documented the strange fact that the Swedish reactors give by far the greatest routine releases to the Baltic Sea. I also pointed out that both Sweden and Finland plan to place their dangerous spent nuclear fuel in final storage facilities directly at, in and under the Baltic Sea.  As an added sensation, two days before the conference started – I managed to find a brand new quote, in a recent draft report from HELCOM which states without doubt, that the Baltic Sea is the most radioactive body of water in the entire world!  (See “RESOLUTION” from the workshop, in this section).  That is why we demand a MORATORIUM – a STOP for any additional nuclear projects on the coasts of the Baltic Sea!  You’ll find a written version of my presentation below – as well as a translation into English of our pamphlet:  “The Baltic Sea is Radioactive”  (PDF, 692 KB). You are free to use this pamphlet, in your own country – and it explains this particular problem of our Baltic Sea region.

Rashid Alimov, from Bellona in St. Petersburg, Russia spoke against the export of electricity from nuclear power in Russia, among other things, since this in consequence means that other countries get the benefit of energy, but Russia gets even more nuclear waste. You can see a PDF version of his excellent PowerPoint presentation here.

We can also thank Oleg Bodrov from Green World. Last minute changes to his plans made it impossible for him to personally attend and give a report from Russia – but he met me in Stockholm on the day before the conference, and gave us his PowerPoint presentation, of which a PDF version is included here: there are some sensational real life satellite pictures of the enormous heat releases to the ocean from Swedish and Russian reactors – and also an update on some of all the nuclear facilities at Sosnovy Bor (Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, near St. Petersburg).

Charly Hultén, 6 Oct. 2006His colleague, Gennady Shabarin – from the Sustainable Development Information Agency – was invited to film the entire workshop in Sweden. We hope to make this material available to you in the near future (Gennady has won awards for his films, at Green Film Festivals earlier).  One of his short films, “Prohibited Manifestation” was shown during the workshop, and two longer films were shown in the evening – after dinner – for those who wanted more, after the workshop (“When the time comes” and “Looking for solution” – both of them are about decommissioning of nuclear power units in the Baltic region and about “social partnership for ensuring sustainable development of atomic neighbourhoods” - using the developments in Ignalina as a positive example!). Thank you also to Charly Hulten from The Swedish Anti-nuclear Movement for acting as the workshop rapporteur.

Saulius Piksrys, from Community ATGAJA - reported on the situation in Lithuania. His PowerPoint presentation gives an overview of the energy situation, decommissioning of Ignalina and of their project “Social Responsibility” to develop alternatives for the town’s successful survival after the decommissioning of the reactors at Ignalina.

Gerd Söderlund gave a damaging report from Finland of the manipulations of the nuclear industry and the French company AREVA/ formerly Cogema – to build the world’s biggest, first prototype reactor - in Finland.  Cogema is also pushing for uranium mining in Finland – and refuses to accept any legal or moral objections!  Gerd Söderlund’s written presentation can be found here in this section of our Website.

We also distributed a short paper on the plans to build a 500 km long gas pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, between Russia and Germany – which means clearing a 400 meter broad track (a “security zone!”) all along the ocean floor.  Now, we know that 300,000 tonnes of chemical weapons were dumped on the ocean floor after the Second World War. On top of that, Sweden (and God only knows who else?) has dumped radioactive waste straight to the bottom of the ocean, early in their nuclear history – all that stuff is still down there, so obviously it could end in a catastrophe, if greedy energy-peddlers bulldoze their way through all of it!  Take a look at the document, which is also included here.

Now you know some of the highlights of what’s in this section – and some of what we have accomplished together at the Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2006.  We plan to carry on working on the issues of this year’s workshop, until next year’s Forum – we will try to keep you updated.  We also want to recommend the official Website of Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2006 (www.bsngoforum.org) for the proceedings of the other themes and workshops at this year’s Forum, as well as the previous years’ proceedings.

Gennady Shabarin, 6 Oct. 2006 Saulius Piksrys and Oleg Bodrov, 4 Oct. 2006
Gennady Shabarin, 6 Oct. 2006   Saulius Piksrys and Oleg Bodrov, 4 Oct. 2006

 

Anti-nuclear greetings,
Per Hegelund (text and photos).