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International Update Volume 44, Issue 17

CHILE DROPS PLANS FOR CONTROVERSIAL DAM PROJECT

Chile

Last week, the Chilean government rejected plans to construct the highly controversial HidroAysen dam project, which would have built dams on two of Patagonia’s rivers. Opponents, organized into a coalition known as the Patagonia Defense Council, had fought the project from the outset, fearing that it would endanger both the environment and the local communities.

EU AGREES TO TOUGHER NUCLEAR SAFETY RULES

EU

In light of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the EU has promulgated a new law that would strengthen nuclear safety measures. Prompted by the devastating aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, the EU conducted a series of stress tests on nuclear power stations and found that nearly all European power plants need safety improvements. The new rules, announced last Wednesday, specify that power plants be designed so that reactor damage would not have any consequences outside the plant.

SOCO SUSPENDS EXPLORATION IN DRC

DRC

British oil company Soco International has announced that it will suspend oil exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. Virunga—Africa’s oldest national park—is home to a number of endangered species, including the mountain gorilla, okapi, and several species of rare birds. Although Soco’s exploratory activities in the park had been supported by the DRC's government, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other conservation groups have opposed exploration, fearing it will hurt the park’s fragile ecosystem.