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Anti-Nuclear Protests Spread Across Europe Updated: 2011-03-15 00:00:00 KST

A rally opposing the construction of nuclear power plants was held in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday.
Anti-nuclear protesters claimed that the safety of nuclear energy cannot be guaranteed after seeing the events that have unfolded at the Fukushima atomic power plant.

[Interview : Eva Joly, French Member of European Parliament] "Japan has organized and skilled workers at its nuclear power plants. But what is now unfolding in those sites makes us doubt whether a crisis management principle still can be upheld."

Huge anti-nuclear demonstrations also took place in Germany and Italy.
Some 40-thousand people formed a 45-kilometer-long human chain from Stuttgart in southern Germany to a nearby atomic plant, demanding the government to call off its plan to extend the operation period of the nuclear reactor.
In response, the German government announced that it will discuss and inspect the security of 17 nuclear power plants in the country.
Berlin also hinted that it might postpone the decision to renew the operation period.

[Interview : Guido Westerwelle, German Foreign Minister] "There is a need to comprehensively discuss the safety of nuclear power plants even if Germany does not face a direct danger or threat."

And the Swiss government says it will freeze a project to replace its nuclear reactors.
Meanwhile over in the the United States, 20 percent of the nation's electricity is produced from atomic power plants.
One-hundred-four nuclear reactors are operating in 65 plants across the country, with four of them in California, a state which is especially vulnerable to earthquakes.
Although these reactors are constructed to withstand fairly big earthquakes, it is unlikely that they could endure such a massive quake as the one that hit Japan.

[Interview : Edward Markey, US House Representative] "A nuclear power plant in California is only built to withstand an earthquake at a 7.0 level. What we saw in Japan is 100 times greater in terms of its intensity. So, we have to go back, reevaluate what has happened."

However, the Obama administration has brushed aside calls for a halt in the nation's nuclear power development, saying that nuclear energy is a big part of the government's energy plan.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.
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