Statement by Peter Silberberg, Head of Economic Department, at the 20th International Conference on Health and Environment

Apr 26, 2011

(as delivered)

Madame Chair.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am speaking today on behalf of Ambassador Miguel Berger who – on short notice - is unfortunately prevented from attending this conference.

Let me first thank the organizers for the invitation to this important and timely discussion: The title of this afternoon´s session “Chernobyl – lessons for nuclear security” today is much more relevant than the organizers might have thought some weeks ago:  25 years after the tragic disaster of Chernobyl, the world is again holding its breath.

25 years ago Chernobylmade it clear that the consequences of failure to respect fundamental safety principles are felt not only by the direct victims, but also by countless people living far away from the nuclear power plant.

Eliminating the impacts of the Chernobylaccident remains a huge challenge which requires international solidarity and cooperation. The international community has already achieved a lot in coping with the impact of the Chernobyldisaster.

One example is the establishment of new international financing funds at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), such as the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) for investments in safety improvements and the Chernobyl Shelter Fund (CSF) for securing the destroyed unit 4.

Germanyhas provided political, financial and technical support over many years at various levels, and we will continue to do our share.

At the pledging conference in Kievon Monday last week, Germanyhas declared its intention to provide an overall additional amount of up to 42.4 million Euros for the Chernobylshelter fund CSF and the Nuclear Safety Account NSA over the next few years. This is a clear expression of our commitment and our ongoing engagement to contribute to coping with the dramatic consequences of the Chernobyldisaster.

All parties, notably the nuclear power plant, the EBRD, the Ukrainian government and administration, the project managers and the companies involved are called upon to do everything in their power and make a visible contribution to providing much needed safety at the Chernobylsite.

25 years after Chernobyl, the world is again confronted with a nuclear disaster. Our solidarity and sympathy are with the people and the government of Japan.

The recent events in Japanaffect us all. They have taught us that we have to reconsider our concept of risk. Obviously, 25 years after Chernobylwe have not yet learned all our lessons for nuclear security.

The events in Japanmark a defining moment because society’s perception of what is a safe nuclear power plant has changed after the Fukushimadisaster.

Therefore, Germanywants to limit the period of time we continue to use nuclear power. After the nuclear accident in Japan, there is cross-party consensus that Germanyshould phase out nuclear power and move to a renewable energy supply as quickly as possible.

We welcome the activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies that promote global cooperation on safety.

To conclude let me stress that Germany will continue to play an active role in international cooperation on nuclear safety.

© GermanyUN