* Greenpeace International Campaigner, Shaun Burnie is in the thick of protests in Japan over the imminent shipment of dangerous nuclear materials through the region.
* A shipment of rejected plutonium material is being now being loaded in Japan and is due to leave for the United Kingdom tonight. The Pacific Pintail will hold fuel assemblies, containing 255kg of plutonium- enough to make 50 nuclear weapons. It is almost certainly bound for the Pacific and will travel past New Zealand.
* The plutonium material is being returned to its manufacturer, British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL). Japan refused to accept it when BNFL was forced to admit it had deliberately falsified vital safety data for the fuel pellets in 1999.
* This is the first plutonium shipment since September 11, raising concerns that it could be a terrorist target.
* Greenpeace and Japanese citizens’ groups have been protesting the loading in Takahama Bay, Japan this morning.
* protestors on the pier at the entrance to the bay held banners in English and Japanese saying “BNFL never again” * Two protest inflatables were deployed by Greenpeace to obtain close-up shots of the Pacific Pintail * 12 kites on one string reading “Stop Plutonium” were flown next to the nuclear convoy as it entered the bay.
Shaun Burnie is available for interviews in Japan 00 81 90 2253 7306
Or contact Bunny McDiamid in Auckland on 021 838 183
For images contact Olivia Bradley on 00 61 2 9263 0350