World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

U.S. plutonium transport arrives in Normandy

High risk U.S. plutonium transport arrives in Normandy from south of France

Paris, 15 March 2005 - A cargo of 140 kilograms of U.S. weapons-grade plutonium (1) has completed the first leg of its controversial journey from France to the U.S. The armed convoy left the Areva plutonium fuel factory at Marcoule, north of Avignon, between Monday night and Tuesday morning. It travelled around 1000 kilometres over land to Areva's la Hague plutonium complex in Normandy and arrived early in the night of 15 March. The nuclear cargo will be repackaged and taken in the coming days to Cherbourg for onward sea transport to the U.S. port of Charleston.

Greenpeace activists tracked the transport as it neared la Hague, to alert the public and local authorities to the safety and security risk it presents and to voice opposition to the proliferation threat posed by such trade in nuclear weapons materials. The convoy travelled over major French highways without adequate protection and packaging, according to Greenpeace, and will also present a risk when at sea.

A new report by a U.S. nuclear security expert has concluded that the transportation last October of U.S. plutonium in France was at "high" risk from terrorist attack, with inadequate security protection (2). French transports of plutonium are also assessed in the report, with the conclusion that there is currently no effective security applied, and the level of risk is categorized as "extreme."

"This whole plutonium program is about the survival of the nuclear industry in France, the U.S. and Russia. Instead of proliferating more plutonium around the planet, governments need to take action to shut down this industry before catastrophe strikes," said Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France.
Greenpeace rejects the transport and use of all nuclear weapons materials and is calling for an international treaty that bans the further production and use of weapons-usable fissile materials such as plutonium and highly enriched uranium.


Notes to Editors:
(1) In the form of nuclear fuel, mixed uranium-plutonium (MOX)
This shipment of pure U.S. weapons plutonium oxide (powder) that was transported from the U.S. to France in September/October 2004. The plutonium has since been manufactured into experimental MOX at the Cadarache and Melox nuclear facilities, for testing in U.S. reactor in South Carolina. MOX fuel is classified by the IAEA as Category 1 nuclear material (the same as separated plutonium), requiring high level security. Greenpeace tracked and protested against its entire journey.

2). The security report commissioned by Greenpeace International challenges the French government to explain the extreme risks posed by the present security arrangements for plutonium transportation. Available onhttp://www.stop-plutonium.org. The security of plutonium transports will also be discussed at an IAEA nuclear security conference in London this week see http://www.iaea.org for further details.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>

ALSO:

Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>

ALSO:

Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>

ALSO:

Camp Shut Down: Refugees Must Be Rescued From Manus

On 31st October 2017, the detention centre on Manus Island in which the Australian Government has been holding more than 700 refugees was closed, leaving those living there in a desperate situation. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>

ALSO: