Tuesday, 1 June 2010

French antinuclear network “Sortir du nucléaire” supports nuclear industry subcontractor and whistleblower Philippe Billard

French antinuclear network “Sortir du nucléaire” supports nuclear industry subcontractor and whistleblower Philippe Billard

Philippe Billard, trade unionist, subcontracts for the nuclear industry. He has already been exposed to radiation while working in nuclear power plants and will be heard by the industrial tribunal of Rouen on 1st June. As a spokesperson of the organisation “Santé / Sous-traitance” (“Health and Subcontracting”), he has undergone some retaliation measures after having denounced workers exposure to radiation. As a whistleblower, he’s now treated as persona non grata in nuclear power plants. His employer refuses to re-instate him at his previous job, in contradiction with the Labour Inspectorate’s recommendations.

The French antinuclear network “Sortir du nucléaire”, which gathers about 880 organisations, firmly condemns the nuclear industry as life-threatening and opaque, and considers Philippe Billard’s ousting as a means to put pressure on whistleblower workers. “Sortir du nucléaire” decided to bring its support to the workers who, just like Philippe Billard, suffer from the unbearable working conditions imposed by the nuclear industry and undergo irradiation without even receiving appropriate health care.

To protect its corporate image, EDF chose to give subcontractors the most dangerous tasks. These people working in the shadows have insecure jobs and are mostly temporary and/or nomad workers. Every year, 25,000 to 30,000 of them are made to carry out tasks where they are exposed to radiations. This system allows EDF to cover up a huge health scandal, since these subcontractors, who get 80% of the annual collective dose from the whole French nuclear park, are not taken into account in epidemiological surveys[1] !

EDF is shamelessly multiplying talks on transparency while hushing up workers whistle blowing about the imminent catastrophe. In the ageing French nuclear park, the accident risk is increasing, all the more since maintenance periods are shortened in order to save time and money. However, the official motto remains “Nothing to report”[2]. Short-term profits are more important than common safety and security.

The nuclear industry lets a permanent accident risk hang over populations and sacrifices workers’ health. It is high time to reduce our electricity consumption and to shift towards more sustainable ways of producing energy, which threaten neither the workers nor the people and create far more jobs[3], clean, safe and spread nationwide.

In support with Philippe Billard and all the workers suffering in the nuclear industry, the network “Sortir du nucléaire” calls to join the trade union gathering on June, the 1st at 8: 30 , in front of the tribunal (2, place de la Madeleine, Rouen, Normandy)

Further information (in French) on : http://groupes.sortirdunucleaire.org/blogs/sante-et-sous-traitance/

[1] Annie Thébaud-Mony, « L’industrie nucléaire organise le non-suivi médical des travailleurs les plus exposés », Imagine, May-June 2007

[2] See the movie « R.A.S. Nucléaire : Rien à signaler » by Alain de Halleux, 2009

[3] As an example, more than 300 000 jobs have been created in Germany in renewable energy and energy efficiency since the 2000 Renewable Energy Bill.

Réseau "Sortir du nucléaire" / French Nuclear Phaseout Network

Federation gathering 876 NGOs and organizations


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