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Dutch Nuclear Transport Arrives At La Hague

Dutch Nuclear Transport Arrives At La Hague As Plutonium/Mox Prepares For Departure To Japan

La Hague/Cherbourg, January 18th , 2001 - As preparations for tomorrow’s transport of plutonium/MOX from France to Japan are being finalized, the scandal of nuclear waste reprocessing at la Hague plant continues (1). Later today, a train carrying spent nuclear fuel from the Netherlands will arrive at Cogema’s Valognes rail depot.

One cask of highly radioactive spent fuel left the Borselle nuclear power plant yesterday following protests from Greenpeace Netherlands and Greenpeace Belgium. Spent fuel from Borselle has been transported to, and reprocessed, at la Hague since 1978. Despite this, not one gram of plutonium extracted during reprocessing has been 'recycled' in Dutch nuclear reactors, nor are their any plans to do so, in stark contrast to Cogema’s claim that their business is the ‘recycling of nuclear material’.

As a result of the reprocessing of foreign and domestic spent nuclear fuel, Cogema has created the worlds largest stockpile of weapons-usable plutonium, over 72,000kg as of the end of 1999, most of which is still at la Hague. Thirty-thousand kilograms belongs to non-French client countries, including the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, the rest is owned by Electricite de France, EdF.

"In reality Cogema's reprocessing is about nuclear waste dumping, resulting in widespread radioactive contamination, the production of even more nuclear waste and the isolation of nuclear weapons-usable plutonium, not recycling. This latest foreign transport of nuclear waste exposes the madness of the nuclear industry and reprocessing, it is high time it was stopped," said Jean-luc Thierry of Greenpeace France.

A shipment of Japanese plutonium/MOX fuel, containing around 230kg of plutonium, is to leave the French port of Cherbourg under heavy military security tomorrow, Friday. The cargo will be carried onboard the British freighters Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal.

Over 2000kg of plutonium has been shipped from la Hague to Japan since 1985, yet, as in the case of the Netherlands, not one gram has been used in a Japanese nuclear reactor. Approximately 27,000kg of plutonium belonging to Japan remains stockpiled at la Hague.

"To put the scale of the la Hague plutonium mountain in perspective, each year since the mid-1990's Cogema has increased the worlds stockpile by 16,000kg, enough for 2000 nuclear weapons or five time more than then number of nuclear weapons in the 'Force de Frappe', France’s nuclear weapons arsenal. The Netherlands and Japan, like all of Cogema's clients, are complicit in this plutonium nightmare," said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International.


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