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BNFL And COGEMA Abuse French Justice System


Cherbourg, January 16th 2001 - Greenpeace International today condemned British Nuclear Fuels’ (BNFL) and Cogema’s heavy-handed legal manoeuvres to ban peaceful protests against a planned Japanese plutonium/MOX shipment, scheduled for this week. Earlier today a court in Cherbourg, France accepted the nuclear companies’ demand for an injunction against Greenpeace France and Greenpeace International.

The environmental organisation argued in court that the plutonium industry should be constrained not peaceful protesters. The court considered claims by BNFL and Cogema that Greenpeace International and Greenpeace France are intent on stopping the plutonium transport. Under the terms of the injunctions Greenpeace is prevented from protesting within one hundred metres of any facilities, transporters or vessels involved in the shipments. For each breach of the court injunction, a fine will be imposed (1). "It’s the plutonium industry that should be banned, not Greenpeace. After all this is an industry which, when it last shipped plutonium/MOX to Japan, in 1999, was forced to admit it had falsified vital quality control data. Greenpeace also revealed BNFL had deceived other clients in Germany and Switzerland. Given that history, it is no surprise Cogema and BNFL are prepared to abuse the justice system to silence legitimate protest,” Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International.

Not one kilogram of the plutonium/MOX fuel shipped to Japan from Cherbourg in 1999 has been loaded into a Japanese reactor. Due to the falsification scandal BNFL’s MOX fuel is to be returned to the UK (2). The MOX fuel produced by Belgonucleaire from Cogema-reprocessed plutonium, also shipped in 1999, is currently under investigation by a Japanese court after evidence showed it too had suspicious quality control data. A ruling on this case is due in late February.

“The production, transport and use of plutonium MOX fuel is inherently dangerous. When that is combined with poor quality control and falsification of vital safety data you have a recipe for disaster. Today's ruling increases the risks to all those threatened by the plutonium industry in Europe, the en- route countries and Japan," said Burnie.

As of 1800 hours (CET) today, a Greenpeace France protest, which began Saturday 13th at Cogema’s railyard in Valognes, is continuing. A second protest by Greenpeace France in Cherbourg port was stopped by Special Forces of the French Interior Ministry (GPIN) on Sunday. Three activists arrested at Cherbourg port were released this afternoon and ordered to leave the region.

The plutonium/MOX fuel to be transported to Japan is still at Cogema’s la Hague site. Currently a large convoy of military trucks and security personnel is gathering at Valognes in preparation for the transport (3).

For further information:

Shaun Burnie - Greenpeace International - ++31 629 00 11 33 (mobile) Briefings and Maps on the plutonium MOX transport issue are available at { HYPERLINK } Footage (+31 20 52 49 543) and stills (+31 20 52 49 580) available from Greenpeace International.

NOTES FOR EDITORS: A fine of 350,000FF can be imposed against GP France and Greenpeace International for each breach of the BNFL and Cogema injunctions. BNFLhas agreed to pay approximately 1.1 billion French francs (110 million GBP) to its Japanese client and to cover the cost of the return shipment Cogema is expected to transport the plutonium/MOX fuel from its la Hague facility to the Cherbourg port via a railway loading site at Valognes. end

For information on Greenpeace please visit:

High-bandwidth users can view current and archive streaming Greenpeace videos at:

For more information on this press release please contact: Greenpeace International Press Office T: ++ 31 20 5249515 F: ++ 31 20 5236212

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