WHAT IS THE OOA?
In the Spring of 1974 a seed was planted, which would grow and turn into one of Denmark's most tenacious grassroots movements. Since then there were anti-nuclear marches from Stevns and Gylling NĘs (2 out of 15 locations reserved for the building of nuclear power stations). Hundreds of thousands of smiling suns have in the form of badges and stickers said firmly, but friendly: "NUCLEAR POWER? - NO THANKS". Leaflets to the Danish people, "Denmark without nuclear power", distributed by voluntaries, were sent through the letterboxes of every Danish home in the Winter of 1979/80. There were marches against Barseb”ck, the Swedish nuclear power station situated only 20 km from Copenhagen, the Danish capital. Such activities have characterized the OOA as a popular and effective movement being independent of party politics. Several people believe that OOA activities have indeed been instrumental in increasing the opposition to nuclear power so that we do not have nuclear power stations in Denmark today.
The Movement on Energy and Environment - OOA was originally called The Organization for Information on Nuclear Power, the objective of which has been all along to encourage:
- a critical assessment and information about all the problems connected with the use of nuclear power
- an increase in research in other forms of energy and a renewed assessment of these alternatives
- the drawing up of a long-term energy policy, being socially and ecologically justifiable.
The OOA is registered as an organization. The OOA has local groups and contact persons spread all over the country. There are two national congresses every year. "The national congress" constitutes the supreme authority of the OOA. The work of the OOA is dependent on voluntary work and on economic contributions from many individuals.
HOW DOES THE OOA WORK?
Through the publication of leaflets, preparation of documentation materials, direct, non-violent actions, exhibitions, lectures, hearings, reader's letters, distribution of information material, etc. the Movement on Energy and Environment - OOA emphasizes a broad, popular information on energy and environmental questions.
The OOA has from the very beginning emphasized the establishment and the running of a comprehensive public library on energy and environmental problems. This library embraces 18,000 Danish and foreign books, documents, reports and pamphlets, including a big selection of magazines from all over the world.
WHAT IS THE OOA BUSY DOING RIGHT NOW?
The work in the OOA has in the past few years above all been influenced by the break-down of the Wall between East and West. We have especially concentrated our work on the problems with the old nuclear power stations in Eastern Europe and the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, which is now clearly making itself felt. However, also the work involved in dealing with problems with our "radiating neighbours" has monopolized the major part of our resources. In the past year the OOA has been especially busy dealing with problems on the Barseb”ck nuclear power station.
PROBLEMS WITH NUCLEAR POWER IN EASTERN EUROPE AND WESTERN "AID"
The Danish press has especially dealt with the serious problems on East European nuclear power stations, notably the problems with nuclear reactors of the Chernobyl-type (the so-called RBMK reactors), such as the Ignalina situated in Lithuania. There has been much talk about how to solve these serious problems.
Even the most advanced and costliest attempts to improve the safety on these reactors, all situated in Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, will not make them safe as the reactors are fundamentally malfunctioning due to engineering errors. It is therefore irresponsible to point at safety improvements as a solution to the threat which these reactors constitute for the whole of the European population. The only responsible thing to do is to close them down as soon as possible. With extensive West European economic and technical/scientific aid, the countries in question should thus be obliged to make decommission plans for that type of reactors. The East European countries have vast potentials for technical energy saving measures and enormous resources of bio fuels and natural gas. Plans should be worked out at once together with the requisite safety improvements, both in technical and manpower terms, on the reactors pending their closure.
The OOA has repeatedly urged the Danish Government and Parliament to put pressure on the governments in Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania to stop all future operation of these nuclear power stations. Simultaneously, we have urged our Government to see to it that efforts be made to find, in an international context, an integrated, sustainable solution to the energy problems in the East European countries.
In the OOA we are very much aware of the development which is now taking place in Eastern Europe. Various East European groups being critical toward nuclear power but lacking information about the problems of Western nuclear technology, keep contacting us. It is a problem for them that the Western nuclear industry is currently doing a lot of fierce lobbying in order to penetrate the East European energy market. Therefore, the sensible energy and environmental groups have difficulties in getting through with information about alternative, sustainable energy solutions. This work is high on the agenda in the OOA.
Ever since the Chernobyl catastrophe in May 1986, information work about the consequences of the catastrophe has been high on the OOA agenda.
Many victims from the Chernobyl catastrophe today need help and recognition of the injuries and problems with which they have been afflicted. Collecting and publishing information internationally, critical analytical work and identification of the long term effects of the catastrophe would help these victims to achieve recognition of their injuries, to get medical treatment, recreation or being evacuated, and to obtain the money damages to which they are entitled.
The OOA has therefore chosen to give the information work about the Chernobyl catastrophe high priority. The chief tasks of the OOA in this Chernobyl work is to act as an intermediary as far as information is concerned, both between the earlier Soviet and Denmark, and within Denmark, to collect and systematize information about the catastrophe and the ensuing consequences, to make analytical work, coordinate initiatives in progress and participate in the establishment of an international contact net.
In the OOA we hope that the experience from the Chernobyl catastrophe will act as an eyeopener for the responsible politicians all over the world and help them realize that nuclear power is not any acceptable source of energy.
OOA's campaign work in the past few years is based on the experience stemming from Chernobyl. It is while bearing Chernobyl in mind that we approach the Danish emergency force and politicians saying: "It does not suffice that we succeeded in avoiding nuclear power in Denmark, because within a distance of 150 km from Denmark there are six nuclear power stations. These power stations constitute a direct, serious threat to the Danes. No matter how many emergency plans are worked out, they will not protect the population adequately in the case of nuclear accidents. The only responsible thing to do is to request that Denmark's "radiating neighbours" close down!
The Swedish nuclear power station Barseb”ck is on top of the list as it is closest to Denmark and only situated 20 km from Copenhagen. The debate about Barseb”ck and Swedish nuclear power has flared up again in the last years. The OOA has worked very intensively with Barseb”ck since September 1992 when it became known that the emergency cooling system in the two reactors of the Barseb”ck power station had engineering errors. To our mind, we have contributed in launching this debate, which has persisted and been taken seriously. Moreover, we have seen to it that the Danish politicians have taken the matter seriously. Many initiatives are still ongoing, several possibilities have still not been tried out, and arguments are still being elaborated. But the most important thing is that the Swedish government is still being pressurized to close down Barseb”ck. There is every reason to resent that the Swedish government ignores the request on the part of the Danish government and 73 per cent of the Danish population to close down Barseb”ck immediately.
The leading principle of the Movement of Energy and Environment - OOA is the conviction that things can work out if you make an effort in the right direction - and the campaign against nuclear power in Denmark is a good example of that. But we still have other tasks to accomplish.
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OOA, Ryesgade 19, DK-2200 Copenhagen. N.
Phone: +45 35 35 55 07, Fax: +45 35 35 65 45