* Chancellor sees petitions in at least 6 countries -paper
* Austria banned atomic plants in 1974
* Aim is no nuclear-generated power imports-Environment min
* Seeks enough renewable energy to be power exporter by
VIENNA, March 12 Austrian Chancellor
Werner Faymann expects petition drives to start in at least six
European Union members this year with the goal of having the EU
abandon nuclear power, he said in a newspaper interview.
Under the EU's Lisbon Treaty, petitions that attract at
least one million signatures can seek legislative proposals from
the European Commission, and Faymann said rules on this should
be ratified by June.
This would pave the way for anti-nuclear activists to start
garnering support "and I expect the petition drive will start in
at least six EU countries in autumn", he told the Oesterreich
paper in an interview printed on Monday.
"The goal is a Europe-wide exit from nuclear energy, so no
more nuclear plants in the EU. This will be a long road, but
immediately there should be funds only for safety and the exit
plan," he added.
Austria is a vocal opponent of nuclear energy and banned
atomic plants in 1974. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has
reinforced its stance, while Europe's divisions over nuclear
power have deepened in the year since Fukushima's meltdown.
Germany has decided to close all its reactors by 2022 and
Italians have voted to ban atomic power for decades to come, but
Britain and France remain committed to the technology. Energy
policy in the EU is primarily a matter for national governments.
In a separate interview, Austrian Environment Minister
Nikolaus Berlakovich told Oesterreich the country would no
longer import electricity generated by nuclear power as soon as
it had enough renewable energy to become a power exporter.
"We are working towards being so far along by 2014 or 2015,"
he was quoted as saying.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)