VERACRUZ, Mexico, Oct. 4, 2000 (BNamericas.com)—Mexican state power company CFE’s Laguna Verde nuclear facility in Veracruz state is unsafe and would be unable to cope in an emergency, environmental group Greenpeace said. The plant is Mexico’s only nuclear energy facility, and Greenpeace has been demanding the plant’s closure on safety grounds since June this year.

Greenpeace Mexico director Alejandro Calvillo claims to have obtained a report by plant engineers referring to numerous safety problems, including the inability to monitor radiation levels in case of an accident. In September, Calvillo told BNamericas.com of cracks in storage areas for spent fuel rods and in the reactor itself, claims backed up by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Greenpeace has been predicting an accident at Laguna Verde since it began operations 10 years ago, but nothing has ever happened, CFE spokesperson David Lopez told BNamericas.com, adding that the criticism is just a way for Greenpeace to justify its existence as an anti-nuclear, ecological group.

“I don’t think that Greenpeace will ever come to terms with the pacific use of nuclear energy. It has a limited vision of the way things operate in the world. Nuclear power is the chief source of electricity in a number of countries,” Lopez added.

“The plant is completely safe. It is constantly checked and monitored. The CFE has asked for an independent environmental and safety audit of Laguna Verde by [Mexican environmental enforcement agency] Profepa,” he continued.

In regard to the reported cracks, Lopez said “That’s false, there are no cracks. That report was written by ex-employees of Laguna Verde, some of whom were sacked. As you know, sacked former employees sometimes want to discredit where they worked.”

Laguna Verde has two units producing a total of 1,368 MW, which helps supply the states of Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala and the Federal District. This is 5-6% of the total amount of electric energy produced in Mexico, Lopez concluded.

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