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Activists block road to be used by US nuke convoy

Greenpeace activists block road to be used by US nuclear convoy

Cherbourg, France, October 5th 2004 - Greenpeace activists today blocked the road to be used for transporting 140 kilograms of U.S. weapons plutonium after its imminent arrival in France. A truck was bolted and secured to the main road (D901) between the Cherbourg military port and the state nuclear company Areva/Cogema reprocessing complex on the la Hague peninsula.
The truck has "Stop Plutonium" and a nuclear bomb painted on its side. In addition, ten activists were locked to the truck and the road. "International efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons materials have been high-jacked by the commercial plutonium industry. This plutonium shipment is part of an industry plan to expand the trade in bomb material and must be stopped." said Tom Clements of Greenpeace International.

The protest was conducted ahead of the arrival of the armed British ships Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal. Both vessels are due to dock in the Napoleon III basin inside the Cherbourg military port within the next 24 hours.

After being unloaded on the dockside the U.S. plutonium will be escorted by the French army 18 km to la Hague, before being transported more than 1200 km to Cadarache where it will be fabricated into experimental fuel for testing in a US nuclear reactor. The leader of the Green Party, Noelle Mamere, has passed a decree (arête) in his town council that prevents the plutonium transport from passing through his district. Mamere has called on other towns to make the same prohibition.

The plutonium, sent by the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), left the port of Charleston, South Carolina, on September 20. An international flotilla of French, English and Irish protest vessels are awaiting its arrival. Greenpeace is opposed to the transport due to fact that it is part of a global program led by Areva of France, the United States and Russia to commence the large-scale use of weapons grade plutonium as fuel in commercial nuclear reactors.

Transportation of plutonium is highly vulnerable to accidents or deliberate attack.
"Areva claims that this shipment is part of an effort to reduce the threat from nuclear proliferation. Yet they continuously produce more and more plutonium at their la Hague plant. Plutonium is bomb material whether its in France, the U.S. or North Korea, and its production and use must stop," said Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International.

Areva currently has 70-80 tons of nuclear weapons usable plutonium stockpiled at its la Hague complex.

For background information see:
http://www.stop-plutonium.org
http://www.nuclearfreeflotilla.org/flotilla.htm

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