Opposition CSV party breaks with anti-nuclear stance
Luxembourg's main opposition party, the CSV, has quit the national anti-nuclear committee, describing its decision as a temporary "break" prompted by the absence of viable alternatives to the energy crisis in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The National Action Committee against Nuclear Power was up until recently made up of around 30 political parties, trade unions and NGOs. It has condemned nuclear energy as being “too dangerous, too expensive and too inaccessible”.
However, two political groupings, the CSV and fellow opposition party, the right-wing ADR, have now resigned. The committee has decided to temporarily suspend a further two groups, the Luxembourg Communist Party (KPL) and the 'Landesverband' trade union, as they have not responded to queries from the committee regarding their membership status, broadcaster RTL reported.
The Christian Democrats (CSV) remain very much opposed to nuclear energy, deputy Paul Galles said, but the party fails to see an alternative in the current circumstances, with a strain on supplies prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
“We want to give up Russian gas and coal plants entirely, and since alternative energy is not yet widespread, we need the possibility for a transition period, and therefore, we have decided to take a break from the committee,” Galles told The Luxembourg Times.
“Nuclear energy isn’t perfect, but at least it doesn’t release CO2, so we made a pragmatic decision," he added.
The president of the committee, Paul Polfer, described the CSV and ADR's decision as "unfortunate".
It comes just a day after state-controlled French energy group Electricité de France (EDF) announced that checks for potential corrosion are to be carried out on all reactors at the Cattenom nuclear plant, just across the border from Luxembourg. The site completely shut down operations at the weekend, when its only functioning reactor was taken offline for maintenance.
It means that all four reactors at the site - which are currently offline for a variety of reasons - are either in the process of being checked or will be subjected to tests for corrosion.
Luxembourg's government had demanded the closure of all reactors for checks in April after EDF confirmed that corrosion had been uncovered on reactor 3, sending a letter to the head of France's nuclear safety authority raising concerns after a series of shutdowns in recent months.
Luxembourg and Germany, an ardent opponent of nuclear energy, have long called for the closure of the Cattenom nuclear plant, which lies about 20 kilometres south of Luxembourg's capital.